Apolipoprotein-E deficiency results in an altered stress responsiveness in addition to an impaired spatial memory in young mice

You Zhou, P. David Elkins, Leigh A. Howell, Donna H. Ryan, Ruth B.S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with an altered neurotrophic function of apolipoprotein-E (ApoE) and abnormal neuroendocrine activities. In the present study we investigated stress responsiveness of ApoE-deficient mice. Firstly, two sessions of restraint were introduced, 20 min per day for two (session 1) and three (session 2) consecutive days. In session 1, there was no difference between genotypes in open-field activity in response to restraint stress. In session 2, spatial memory was assessed in a Morris Water Maze 'Place Learning Set' task immediately following stress. Restraint stress caused a significant impairment of spatial memory in wild-type mice. The non-restraint ApoE- deficient mice showed a severe impairment of spatial memory similar to that of the restrained wild-type mice. Restraint stress bad no obvious effect on spatial memory in ApoE-deficient mice until the third day of testing, when there was a decrease in reference memory compared with their non-restraint controls. In addition, the first session of restraint stress had an inhibitory effect on food intake in wild-type but not ApoE-deficient mice, and a longer-lasting effect on body weight in the wild-type than ApoE- deficient mice. ApoE-deficient mice showed a weaker corticosterone response to the initial restraint stress and a slower descending rate in serum corticosterone level during a 30-min post-stress period than their wild-type controls. However, higher baseline levels and stronger corticosterone responses were observed in ApoE-deficient mice than in wild-type mice when exposed to repeated restraint stress. The expression of ApoE mRNA was upregulated in the hypothalamus in wild-type mice exposed to repeated restraint stress. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ApoE deficiency causes a memory impairment and an altered stress responsiveness in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 30 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • ApoE-deficient mice
  • Corticosterone
  • Restraint stress
  • Spatial memory
  • mRNA expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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