Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d'Aquitaine (UMR5287)

Aquitaine Institute for Cognitive and Integrative Neuroscience

Université de Bordeaux

Zone nord Bat 2 2ème étage
146, rue Léo Saignat
33076 Bordeaux cedex


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CNRS Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Université de Bordeaux

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Neurocampus Unitéde Formation de Biologie


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Home > Latest publications

Sex differences in gene expression patterns associated with the APOE4 allele. Hsu M#1, Dedhia M#1, Crusio WE2, Delprato A1.

by Loïc Grattier - published on

Background: The APOE gene encodes apolipoprotein ε (ApoE), a protein that associates with lipids to form lipoproteins that package and traffic cholesterol and lipids through the bloodstream. There are at least three different alleles of the APOE gene: APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4. The APOE4 allele increases an individual’s risk for developing late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) in a dose-dependent manner. Sex differences have been reported for AD susceptibility, age of onset, and symptom progression, with females being more affected than males. Methods: In this study, we use a systems biology approach to examine gene expression patterns in the brains of aged female and male individuals who are positive for the APOE4 allele in order to identify possible sex-related differences that may be relevant to AD. Results: Based on correlation analysis, we identified a large number of genes with an expression pattern similar to that of APOE in APOE4-positive individuals. The number of these genes was much higher in APOE4-positive females than in APOE4-positive males, who in turn had more of such genes than APOE4-negative control groups. Our findings also indicate a significant sex* genotype interaction for the CNTNAP2 gene, a member of the neurexin family and a significant interaction for brain area*sex* genotype for PSEN2, a risk factor gene for AD. Conclusions: Profiling of these genes using Gene Ontology (GO) term classification, pathway enrichment, and differential expression analysis supports the idea of a transcriptional role of APOE with respect to sex differences and AD.

APOE4; Alzheimer’s Disease; Systems Genetics