Apolipoprotein E (apoE) and its three major alleles (APOE2, E3, and E4) have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. Little is known of the role apoE plays in normal brain function and pathology. To create a model to study apoE in brain, we have generated APOE transgenic mice using microinjection of allele-specific human genomic fragments to establish founders which were then bred to APOE knockout mice lacking a functional mouse apoE protein. This allows the study of apoE without interference from the endogenous mouse APOE gene. Results demonstrate that transgenic lines have been established that transcribe and express apoE appropriately in brain, liver, and other tissues. High cholesterol levels found in APOE knockout mice are substantially corrected in the APOE transgenic lines. ApoE immunoreactivity has been detected in glial cells and selected classes of neurons in all three isoform-specific transgenics. This pattern of immunoreactivity is similar to that observed in nonhuman primates and man, and contrasts with the strictly glial staining pattern of normal rodents.
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