Motor dysfunction has been found to be predictive of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease and to occur earlier than cognitive impairments. While apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) has been associated with cognitive impairments, it is unclear whether it also increases risk for motor dysfunction. Exercise and antioxidants are often recommended to reduce cognitive decline; however it is unclear whether they can successfully improve motor impairments. This study was designed to determine the effect of apolipoprotein genotype on motor function, and whether interventions such as exercise and antioxidant intake can improve motor function.
Mice expressed either the human ApoE3 or ApoE4 isoforms under glial fibrillary acid protein promoter (GFAP-ApoE3 and GFAP-ApoE4 mice). The mice were fed either a control diet or the control diet supplemented with vitamins E and C (1.12 IU/g diet α-tocopheryl acetate and 1.65mg/g ascorbic acid). Each genotype/diet group was further divided into a sedentary group or a group that followed a 6 days a week exercise regimen. After 8 weeks on their respective treatment, the mice were administered a battery of motor tests to measure reflexes, strength, coordination and balance.
GFAP-ApoE4 exhibited impaired motor learning and diminished strength compared to the GFAP-ApoE3 mice. Exercise alone was more efficient at improving motor function and reversing ApoE4-associated impairments than antioxidants alone. Combination of antioxidants and exercise did not yield further improvements of motor function. The authors suggest that environmental and genetic factors influence the effect of interventions on motor function and should be investigated more thoroughly and taken into consideration when implementing changes in lifestyles.
Chaudhari K, Wong JM, Vann PH and Sumien N: Exercise, but not antioxidants, reversed ApoE4-associated motor impairments in adult GFAP-ApoE mice. Behav. Brain Res. pii: S0166-4328(16)30070-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.02.014. [Epub ahead of print, Feb, 15, 2016].

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