Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 97–106

The Pathogenic Implication of Abnormal Interaction Between Apolipoprotein E Isoforms, Amyloid-beta Peptides, and Sulfatides in Alzheimer’s Disease


DOI: 10.1007/s12035-009-8092-x

Cite this article as:
Han, X. Mol Neurobiol (2010) 41: 97. doi:10.1007/s12035-009-8092-x


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the aging population. Prior work has shown that the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (apoE4) is a major risk factor for “sporadic” AD, which accounts for >99% of AD cases without a defined underlying mechanism. Recently, we have demonstrated that sulfatides are substantially and specifically depleted at the very early stage of AD. To identify the mechanism(s) of sulfatide loss concurrent with AD onset, we have found that: (1) sulfatides are specifically associated with apoE-associated particles in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); (2) apoE modulates cellular sulfatide levels; and (3) the modulation of sulfatide content is apoE isoform dependent. These findings not only lead to identification of the potential mechanisms underlying sulfatide depletion at the earliest stages of AD but also serve as mechanistic links to explain the genetic association of apoE4 with AD. Moreover, our recent studies further demonstrated that (1) apoE mediates sulfatide depletion in amyloid-β precursor protein transgenic mice; (2) sulfatides enhance amyloid β (Aβ) peptides binding to apoE-associated particles; (3) Aβ42 content notably correlates with sulfatide content in CSF; (4) sulfatides markedly enhance the uptake of Aβ peptides; and (5) abnormal sulfatide-facilitated Aβ uptake results in the accumulation of Aβ in lysosomes. Collectively, our studies clearly provide a link between apoE, Aβ, and sulfatides in AD and establish a foundation for the development of effective therapeutic interventions for AD.


Alzheimer’s diseaseAmyloid-beta peptidesApolipoprotein EElectrospray ionization mass spectrometryLipidomicsShotgun lipidomicsSulfatides

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Department of Internal MedicineWashington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8020St. LouisUSA