Age and APOE affect L-carnitine system metabolites in the brain in the APOE-TR model

Huguenard, Claire J. C.; Cseresznye, Adam; Darcey, Teresa; Nkiliza, Aurore; Evans, James E.; Hazen, Stanley L.; Mullan, Michael; Crawford, Fiona and Abdullah, Laila (2023). Age and APOE affect L-carnitine system metabolites in the brain in the APOE-TR model. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 14, article no. 1059017.



With age the apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 allele (involved in lipid homeostasis) is associated with perturbation of bioenergetics pathways in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We therefore hypothesized that in aging mice APOE genotype would affect the L-carnitine system (central to lipid bioenergetics), in the brain and in the periphery. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, levels of L-carnitine and associated metabolites: γ-butyrobetaine (GBB), crotonobetaine, as well as acylcarnitines, were evaluated at 10-, 25-, and 50-weeks, in the brain and the periphery, in a targeted replacement mouse model of human APOE (APOE-TR). Aged APOE-TR mice were also orally administered 125 mg/kg of L-carnitine daily for 7 days followed by evaluation of brain, liver, and plasma L-carnitine system metabolites. Compared to E4-TR, an age-dependent increase among E2- and E3-TR mice was detected for medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines (MCA and LCA, respectively) within the cerebrovasculature and brain parenchyma. While following L-carnitine oral challenge, E4-TR mice had higher increases in the L-carnitine metabolites, GBB and crotonobetaine in the brain and a reduction of plasma to brain total acylcarnitine ratios compared to other genotypes. These studies suggest that with aging, the presence of the E4 allele may contribute to alterations in the L-carnitine bioenergetic system and to the generation of L-carnitine metabolites that could have detrimental effects on the vascular system. Collectively the E4 allele and aging may therefore contribute to AD pathogenesis through aging-related lipid bioenergetics as well as cerebrovascular dysfunctions.

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