• ageing;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • antioxidants;
  • gene knock-out;
  • neurodegeneration


Recent studies have suggested that altered function of apolipoprotein E might lead to Alzheimer's disease via oxidative stress. In this context, the objective of this study was to determine if antioxidative treatment with vitamin E was neuroprotective in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. For this purpose, 1-month-old control and apolipoprotein E-deficient mice received dietary vitamin E for 12 months. We showed that, compared to apolipoprotein E-deficient mice who received a regular diet, mice treated with vitamin E displayed a significantly improved behavioural performance in the Morris water maze. This improved performance was associated with preservation of the dendritic structure in vitamin E-treated apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. In addition, whilst untreated apolipoprotein E-deficient mice displayed increased levels of lipid peroxidation and glutathione, vitamin E-treated mice showed near normal levels of both lipid peroxidation and glutathione. These results support the contention that vitamin E prevents the age-related neurodegenerative alterations in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.