Objective: Recent evidence supports a link between increased TDP-43 burden and the presence of an APOE4 gene allele in Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, it is difficult to conclude the direct effect of APOE on TDP-43 pathology due to the presence of mixed AD pathologies. The goal of this study is to address how APOE isoforms impact TDP-43 pathology and related neurodegeneration in the absence of typical AD pathologies. Methods: We overexpressed human TDP-43 via viral transduction in humanized APOE2, APOE3, APOE4 mice, and murine Apoe-knockout (Apoe-KO) mice. Behavior tests were performed across ages. Animals were harvested at 11 months of age and TDP-43 overexpression-related neurodegeneration and gliosis were assessed. To further address the human relevance, we analyzed the association of APOE with TDP-43 pathology in 160 postmortem brains from autopsy-confirmed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND) in the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank. Results: We found that TDP-43 overexpression induced motor function deficits, neuronal loss, and gliosis in the motor cortex, especially in APOE2 mice, with much milder or absent effects in APOE3, APOE4, or Apoe-KO mice. In the motor cortex of the ALS and FTLD-MND postmortem human brains, we found that the APOE2 allele was associated with more severe TDP-43-positive dystrophic neurites. Interpretation: Our data suggest a genotype-specific effect of APOE on TDP-43 proteinopathy and neurodegeneration in the absence of AD pathology, with the strongest association seen with APOE2. ANN NEUROL 2023;93:830–843.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology