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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 91236, 7 pages
Review Article

Role of Apolipoprotein E in Anxiety

Departments of Behavioral Neuroscience and Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), Oregon Health & Science University, L470, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Received 20 November 2006; Accepted 7 February 2007

Academic Editor: Patrice Venault

Copyright © 2007 Jacob Raber. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anxiety is most common among Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with an age at onset under age 65. Apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) is a risk factor for developing AD at an earlier age and might contribute to this effect. In mice, apoE plays a role in the regulation of anxiety, which might involve histamine receptor-mediated signaling and steroidogenesis in the adrenal gland. In addition, human apoE isoforms have differential effects on anxiety in adult mice lacking apoE and probable AD patients. Compared to wild-type mice, mice lacking apoE and apoE4 mice showed pathological alterations in the central nucleus of the amygdala, which is involved in regulation of anxiety. ApoE4, but not mice lacking apoE, or apoE3 mice showed impaired dexamethasone suppression of plasma corticosterone. Understanding how apoE modulates measures of anxiety might help the developments of therapeutic targets to reduce or even prevent measures of anxiety in health and in dementing illnesses.