Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4), one of three common isoforms of ApoE, is a major risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD). ApoE-deficient mice, as well as mice expressing human ApoE4, display impaired learning and memory functions and signs of neurodegeneration. Moreover, ApoE protects against high-fat (HF) diet induced neurodegeneration by its role in the maintenance of the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. The influence of a HF diet on the progression of AD-like cognitive and neuropathological changes was assessed in wild-type (WT), human ApoE4 and ApoE-knockout (ApoE-/-) mice to evaluate the modulatory role of ApoE in this process. From 12 months of age, female WT, ApoE4, and ApoE-/- mice were fed either a standard or a HF diet (19% butter, 0.5% cholate, 1.25% cholesterol) throughout life. At 15 months of age mice performed the Morris water maze, evaluating spatial learning and memory. ApoE-/- showed increased spatial learning compared to WT mice (p = 0.009). HF diet improved spatial learning in WT mice (p = 0.045), but did not affect ApoE4 and ApoE-/- mice. Immunohistochemical analyses of the hippocampus demonstrated increased neuroinflammation (CD68) in the cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) region in ApoE4 (p = 0.001) and in ApoE-/- (p = 0.032) mice on standard diet. HF diet tended to increase CD68 in the CA1 in WT mice (p = 0.052), while it decreased in ApoE4 (p = 0.009), but ApoE-/- remained unaffected. A trend towards increased neurogenesis (DCX) was found in both ApoE4 (p = 0.052) and ApoE-/- mice (p = 0.068). In conclusion, these data suggest that HF intake induces different effects in WT mice compared to ApoE4 and ApoE-/- with respect to markers for cognition and neurodegeneration. We propose that HF intake inhibits the compensatory mechanisms of neuroinflammation and neurogenesis in aged female ApoE4 and ApoE-/- mice.

dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155307, hdl.handle.net/1765/83008
Department of Internal Medicine

Janssen, C.I.F, Jansen, D, Mutsaers, M.P.C, Dederen, J, Geenen, B, Mulder, M.T, & Kiliaan, A.J. (2016). The effect of a high-fat diet on brain plasticity, inflammation and cognition in female ApoE4-knockin and ApoE-knockout mice. PLoS ONE, 11(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155307