For much of the 20th century, scientists have looked at brain cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), Huntington's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases and found clumps of material that are largely absent in the brains of nondemented people. The perfectly logical conclusion was that the aggregates were related to the disease process.
Through its lipid-transport functions, apoE is important in repairing and remodeling neurons. Only the liver produces more of it.
The picture is much more complicated than that, however. Various research lines have suggested that protein aggregates may result in deleterious inflammatory responses or that they arise as a response to malfunctioning cell machinery at the...