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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Apr 7, 2021

Human Cell-Based System Reveals Potential Alzheimer’s Disease Mechanism

Study in a Sentence: Using a human brain cell model, researchers demonstrated that a major Alzheimer’s disease genetic risk factor, APOE4, disrupts essential lipid metabolism processes, providing clues about potential mechanisms that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Healthy for Humans: Apolipoprotein E (APOE) plays an important role in human cells by transporting and metabolizing lipids and helping to generate energy. A variant in the gene encoding APOE, APOE4, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but how it does this is not well established.

Redefining Research: Researchers expressed the APOE4 variant in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived astrocytes to investigate how it affects APOE lipid regulation. They showed that APOE4 significantly disrupts key human brain cell lipid processes, pointing to potential Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets.


Sienski G, Narayan P, Bonner JM, et al. APOE4 disrupts intracellular lipid homeostasis in human iPSC-derived glia. Science Translational Medicine. 2021;13.

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