Sex Differences in Presynaptic Density and Neurogenesis in Middle-Aged ApoE4 and ApoE Knockout Mice

Journal of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Volume2013, Article ID 531326, 9 pages


Atherosclerosis and apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) genotype are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Sex differences exist in prevalence and manifestation of both diseases. We investigated sex differences respective to aging, focusing on cognitive parameters in apoE4 and apoE knockout (ko) mouse models of AD and CVD. Presynaptic density and neurogenesis were investigated immunohistochemically in male and female apoE4, apoE ko, and wild-type mice. Middle-aged female apoE4 mice showed decreased presynaptic density in the inner molecular layer of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Middle-aged female apoE ko mice showed a trend towards increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus compared with wild-type mice. No differences in these parameters could be observed in middle-aged male mice. Specific harmful interactions between apoE4 and estrogen could be responsible for decreased presynaptic density in female apoE4 mice. The trend of increased neurogenesis found in female apoE ko mice supports previous studies suggesting that temporarily increased amount of synaptic contacts and/or neurogenesis is a compensatory mechanism for synaptic failure. To our knowledge, no other studies investigating presynaptic density in aging female apoE4 or apoE ko mice are available. Sex-specific differences between APOE genotypes could account for some sex differences in AD and CVD.

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