Apolipoprotein E4 disrupts the neuroprotective action of sortilin in neuronal lipid metabolism and endocannabinoid signaling


  • A. Asaro
  • A.S. Carlo-Spiewok
  • A.R. Malik
  • M. Rothe
  • C.G. Schipke
  • O. Peters
  • J. Heeren
  • T.E. Willnow


  • Alzheimer's & Dementia


  • Alzheimers Dement 16 (9): 1248-1258


  • INTRODUCTION: Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is a carrier for brain lipids and the most important genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). ApoE binds the receptor sortilin, which mediates uptake of apoE‐bound cargo into neurons. The significance of this uptake route for brain lipid homeostasis and AD risk seen with apoE4, but not apoE3, remains unresolved. METHODS: Combining neurolipidomics in patient specimens with functional studies in mouse models, we interrogated apoE isoform–specific functions for sortilin in brain lipid metabolism and AD. RESULTS: Sortilin directs the uptake and conversion of polyunsaturated fatty acids into endocannabinoids, lipid‐based neurotransmitters that act through nuclear receptors to sustain neuroprotective gene expression in the brain. This sortilin function requires apoE3, but is disrupted by binding of apoE4, compromising neuronal endocannabinoid metabolism and action. DISCUSSION: We uncovered the significance of neuronal apoE receptor sortilin in facilitating neuroprotective actions of brain lipids, and its relevance for AD risk seen with apoE4.