The apolipoprotein E ε4 allele contributes to the genetic susceptibility underlying a large proportion (∼40-60%) of typical, sporadic Alzheimer disease. Apolipoprotein E deficient mice made transgenic for human apolipoprotein E ε4 accumulate excess cerebral amyloid when compared to similarly prepared mice expressing human apolipoprotein E ε3. Therefore, it is important to search for relevant interactions(s) between apolipoprotein E E4 and Aβ in order to clarify the biological role for apolipoprotein E E4 in Alzheimer disease. Using a thioflavine T (ThT)-based assay, we have investigated the effects of native human apolipoprotein E isoforms on the kinetics of Aβ fibrillogenesis. No obvious profibrillogenic activity was detected in Aβ1-40-based assays of any native apolipoprotein E isoform. However, when ThT assays were repeated using Aβ1-42, modest, but statistically significant, profibrillogenic activity was detected in both apolipoprotein E ε3- and apolipoprotein E E4-containing media and was similar in magnitude for the two isoforms. These data demonstrate that native apolipoprotein E possesses "pathological chaperone"-type activity for Aβ: in other words, the data indicate that a chaperone-like misfolding reaction can occur between native apolipoprotein E and Aβ. However, the equipotent activities of the apolipoprotein E ε3 and ε4 isoforms suggests the possibility that either extended co-incubation of apolipoprotein E and Aβ, or, perhaps, the inclusion in the reaction of other fibrillogenesis-modulation co-factors (such as metal ions, or inflammatory mediators such as reactive oxygen species, α2-macroglobulin, apolipoprotein J, etc.) may be required for modeling in vitro the apolipoprotein E-isoform-specific-regulation of extracellular Aβ accumulation that occurs in vivo. Alternatively, other events, such as differential apolipoprotein E-isoform-mediated clearance of Aβ or of apolipoprotein E/Aβ complexes may underlie apolipoprotein E-isoform-dependent Aβ accumulation.