Alzheimer's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts an increasing part of our ageing population. An isoform of apolipoprotein E, a protein that mediates the transport of lipids and cholesterol in the circulatory system, predisposes carriers of this allele to the common late-onset form of the disease. How this protein is related to a neurodegenerative disorder is an enigma. Mounting evidence indicates that apolipoprotein E receptors, which are abundantly expressed in most neurons in the central nervous system, also fulfil critical functions during brain development and may profoundly influence the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.
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