In the brains of nine cases with cerebrovascular disease, one with mixed dementia, one with amyloid angiopathy and two non-neurological controls, we found three cases with focal accumulation of apolipoprotein E (apo-E) in dystrophic axons and accompanying macrophages. Since amyloid precursor protein (APP) and chromogranin A (CgA) accumulate after axonal damages, and are sensitive markers of the white matter lesions, the regional distribution of apo-E was compared to that of APP and CgA. apo-E-immunoreactive axons were present in the periphery of an infarction with neighboring macrophages, but not in mild white matter lesions that contained APP- or CgA-immunoreactive fiber bundles. The results suggest a role of apo-E in recycling cholesterol and other membrane components via macrophages into remodeling neurites in the brain, but this phenomenon is restricted to the periphery of infarction and may be less prominent than in the peripheral nervous system.
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