Total apolipoprotein E levels and specific isoform composition in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma from Alzheimer's disease patients and controls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The apolipoprotein E (ApoE) epsilon 4 allele is the strongest risk factor of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD), however, the fluid concentrations of ApoE and its different isoforms (ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4) in AD patients and among APOE genotypes (APOE epsilon 2, epsilon 3, epsilon 4) remain controversial. Using a novel mass spectrometry-based method, we quantified total ApoE and specific ApoE isoform concentrations and potential associations with age, cognitive status, cholesterol levels and established AD biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from AD patients versus non-AD individuals with different APOE genotypes. We also investigated plasma total ApoE and ApoE isoform composition in a subset of these individuals. In total n = 43 AD and n = 43 non-AD subjects were included. We found that CSF and plasma total ApoE levels did not correlate with age or cognitive status and did not differ between AD and non-AD subjects deeming ApoE as an unfit diagnostic marker for AD. Also, whereas CSF ApoE levels did not vary between APOE genotypes APOE epsilon 4 carriers exhibited significantly decreased plasma ApoE levels attributed to a specific decrease in the ApoE4 isoform concentrations. CSF total ApoE concentrations were positively associated with CSF, total tau, tau phosphorylated at Thr181 and A beta 1-42 of which the latter association was weaker and only present in APOE epsilon 4 carriers indicating a differential involvement of ApoE in tau versus A beta-linked neuropathological processes. Future studies need to elucidate whether the observed plasma ApoE4 deficiency is a life-long condition in APOE E > 4 carriers and whether this decrease in plasma ApoE predisposes APOE E > 4 carriers to AD.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • Apolipoprotein E, Cerebrospinal fluid, Isoform, Mass spectrometry, Plasma
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-643
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch