Age-Dependent Effects of apoE Reduction Using Antisense Oligonucleotides in a Model of β-amyloidosis

Tien Phat V. Huynh, Fan Liao, Caroline M. Francis, Grace O. Robinson, Javier Remolina Serrano, Hong Jiang, Joseph Roh, Mary Beth Finn, Patrick M. Sullivan, Thomas J. Esparza, Floy R. Stewart, Thomas E. Mahan, Jason D. Ulrich, Tracy Cole, David M. Holtzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the strongest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer disease. Previous studies suggest that reduction of apoE levels through genetic manipulation can reduce Aβ pathology. However, it is not clear how reduction of apoE levels after birth would affect amyloid deposition. We utilize an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) to reduce apoE expression in the brains of APP/PS1-21 mice homozygous for the APOE-ε4 or APOE-ε3 allele. ASO treatment starting after birth led to a significant decrease in Aβ pathology when assessed at 4 months. Interestingly, ASO treatment starting at the onset of amyloid deposition led to an increase in Aβ plaque size and a reduction in plaque-associated neuritic dystrophy with no change in overall plaque load. These results suggest that lowering apoE levels prior to plaque deposition can strongly affect the initiation of Aβ pathology while lowering apoE after Aβ seeding modulates plaque size and toxicity. Huynh et al. demonstrated that apoE3 and apoE4 are critical factors in promoting amyloidosis during the early stages of Aβ plaque formation but not during the exponential growth phase. Importantly, reduction of apoE4 decreases neuritic dystrophy independent of Aβ pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1023.e4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 6 2017


  • APOE
  • ASO
  • Alzheimer disease
  • amyloid-β
  • antisense oligonucleotides
  • apolipoprotein E


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