ApoE4 reduction: An emerging and promising therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease

Yonghe Li, Jesse R. Macyczko, Chia Chen Liu, Guojun Bu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


APOE4 is the first identified genetic risk factor and remains as the strongest predictor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Studies of AD patients, AD patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons and cerebral organoids, and human apoE4-expressing and apoE-deficient mouse models clearly demonstrate that apoE4 provokes neuroinflammation, impairs cerebrovasculature, and exacerbates amyloid and tau pathologies. ApoE expression is greatly up-regulated in disease-associated microglia in mouse models of amyloidosis and in human microglia from AD brains. Importantly, genetic knock-down or depletion of apoE in mice greatly attenuates neuroinflammation and alleviates amyloid and tau pathologies. Similar beneficial effects can be achieved when apoE reduction is induced by the overexpression of apoE metabolic receptor LDLR. Toward therapeutic implications, administration of apoE antisense oligonucleotides or apoE siRNAs leads to significant pharmacologic effects, i.e., significant alleviation of AD pathologies in mouse models. Therefore, apoE reduction represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of AD patients carrying the APOE ε4 allele. In this review, we summarize evidence and rationale on why and how we target apoE4 reduction for AD therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of aging
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ApoE4
  • LDLR
  • Therapeutic approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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