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Obesity Accelerates Alzheimer-Related Pathology in APOE4 but not APOE3 Mice

Moser VA, Pike CJ (2017) eNeuro.  2017 May-Jun; 4(3):  doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0077-17.2017 

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Abstract:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk is modified by both genetic and environmental risk factors, which are believed to interact to cooperatively modify pathogenesis. Although numerous genetic and environmental risk factors for AD have been identified, relatively little is known about potential gene-environment interactions in regulating disease risk.

The strongest genetic risk factor for late-onset AD is the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (
APOE4). An important modifiable risk factor for AD is obesity, which has been shown to increase AD risk in humans and accelerate development of AD-related pathology in rodent models. Potential interactions between APOE4 and obesity are suggested by the literature but have not been thoroughly investigated.

In the current study, we evaluated this relationship by studying the effects of diet-induced obesity (DIO) in the EFAD mouse model, which combines familial AD transgenes with human 
APOE3 or APOE4. Male E3FAD and E4FAD mice were maintained for 12 weeks on either a control diet or a Western diet high in saturated fat and sugars. We observed that metabolic outcomes of DIO were similar in E3FAD and E4FAD mice. Importantly, our data showed a significant interaction between diet and APOE genotype on AD-related outcomes in which Western diet was associated with robust increases in amyloid deposits, β-amyloid burden, and glial activation in E4FAD but not in E3FAD mice.

These findings demonstrate an important gene-environment interaction in an AD mouse model that suggests that AD risk associated with obesity is strongly influenced by 
APOE genotype.

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