Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) belongs to a class of apolipoproteins that binds to lipids to form lipoproteins. ApoE is produced by the liver and macrophages in peripheral tissues where it regulates cholesterol metabolism. In the central nervous system, ApoE is primarily produced by astrocytes and plays an important role in transporting cholesterol to neurons via ApoE receptors. ApoE has three major isoforms corresponding to three alleles (ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4) that differ from each other by only one or two amino acids at positions 112 and 158. ApoE4 is one of the largest known genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Further, ApoE4 has been implicated in several other diseases such as atherosclerosis, impaired cognitive function and multiple sclerosis.
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