ApoE in Alzheimer’s disease: pathophysiology and therapeutic strategies

Ana Caroline Raulin, Sydney V. Doss, Zachary A. Trottier, Tadafumi C. Ikezu, Guojun Bu, Chia Chen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia worldwide, and its prevalence is rapidly increasing due to extended lifespans. Among the increasing number of genetic risk factors identified, the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene remains the strongest and most prevalent, impacting more than half of all AD cases. While the ε4 allele of the APOE gene significantly increases AD risk, the ε2 allele is protective relative to the common ε3 allele. These gene alleles encode three apoE protein isoforms that differ at two amino acid positions. The primary physiological function of apoE is to mediate lipid transport in the brain and periphery; however, additional functions of apoE in diverse biological functions have been recognized. Pathogenically, apoE seeds amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques in the brain with apoE4 driving earlier and more abundant amyloids. ApoE isoforms also have differential effects on multiple Aβ-related or Aβ-independent pathways. The complexity of apoE biology and pathobiology presents challenges to designing effective apoE-targeted therapeutic strategies. This review examines the key pathobiological pathways of apoE and related targeting strategies with a specific focus on the latest technological advances and tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number72
JournalMolecular neurodegeneration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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