Apolipoprotein E and lipid homeostasis in the etiology and treatment of sporadic Alzheimer's disease
Apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice provide a useful model system for studying the role of apolipoprotein E (apoE) in brain function. In the present study, we characterized the cholinergic function of these mice and the extent of phosphorylation of their cytoskeletal protein tau. Morris water maze tasks revealed deficits in working memory that were accompanied by a specific decrease in hippocampal and cortical choline acetyltransferase activities. Immunoblot experiments utilizing native and dephosphorylated tau and antibodies directed against specific phosphorylated and unphosphorylated tau epitopes revealed that tau of the apoE-deficient mice is hyperphosphorylated. These results show that apoE-deficient mice have cognitive cholinergic and cytoskeletal derangements and point out the importance of this model for studying the role of apoE in neuronal function.