Shina Halavi


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive cognitive and behavioral problems resulting from a build-up of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques in the brain. The degree of neuropathology is partially related to apolipoprotein E (apoE), a fat-binding protein involved in transporting cholesterol to neurons. The APOE gene, which codes for the production of apoE, has several alleles in humans, including APOE3 (E3; the most common) and APOE4 (E4; which is associated with a high risk for developing AD). Transgenic mouse models of AD are commonly used to study the neuropathological processes behind the development of Aβ plaques, neurodegeneration, and associated behavioral deficits. The current study was designed to determine whether expression of E4 in a transgenic mouse model of AD (the PDAPP mouse) alters these processes in a way that replicates the effects observed in humans with E4. The brains of male PDAPP x APOE3 mice (PDAPP:E3; n=5) were compared to those of PDAPP x APOE4 mice (PDAPP:E4; n=4) by staining tissue sections with HJ3.4, thioflavin-S, and 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) to quantify diffuse Aβ, fibrillar Aβ, and cellular count, respectively. PDAPP:E4 mice had more total Aβ in the CA1 of the hippocampus and dorsal cortex. Also, a trend suggested PDAPP:E4 mice had a lower cellular density in the CA1 and dorsal cortex than PDAPP:E3 mice. Importantly, more Alzheimer’s-like neuropathology was generally associated with worse behavioral deficits. Since these results replicate aspects of human AD (plaque load, lower cellular density, and behavioral deficits), the expression of human APOE in transgenic mice may improve their use as a model system for understanding the processes involved in the development of AD and therapeutic strategies for dealing with the disease.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Hartman, Richard E.

Second Advisor

Haerich, Paul E.

Third Advisor

Vermeersch, David A.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Alzheimer's Disease - Pathology; Nervous System -- Pathophysiology; Amyloid-beta Peptides

Subject - Local

Neuropathology; Neurodegenration; Plaque load; Cellular density; Behavioral deficits;



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives