Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. The APOE-ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the strongest genetic risk factor for late-onset AD. The APOE genotype modulates the effect of sleep disruption on AD risk, suggesting a possible link between apoE and sleep in AD pathogenesis, which is relatively unexplored. We hypothesized that apoE modifies Aβ deposition and Aβ plaque–associated tau seeding and spreading in the form of neuritic plaque–tau (NP-tau) pathology in response to chronic sleep deprivation (SD) in an apoE isoform–dependent fashion. To test this hypothesis, we used APPPS1 mice expressing human APOE-ε3 or -ε4 with or without AD-tau injection. We found that SD in APPPS1 mice significantly increased Aβ deposition and peri-plaque NP-tau pathology in the presence of APOE4 but not APOE3. SD in APPPS1 mice significantly decreased microglial clustering around plaques and aquaporin-4 (AQP4) polarization around blood vessels in the presence of APOE4 but not APOE3. We also found that sleep-deprived APPPS1:E4 mice injected with AD-tau had significantly altered sleep behaviors compared with APPPS1:E3 mice. These findings suggest that the APOE-ε4 genotype is a critical modifier in the development of AD pathology in response to SD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere169131
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 17 2023


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