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Nat Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(4):468-75. Epub 2005 Mar 27.

High cholesterol level is essential for myelin membrane growth.

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  • 1Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Goettingen, Germany.

Abstract

Cholesterol in the mammalian brain is a risk factor for certain neurodegenerative diseases, raising the question of its normal function. In the mature brain, the highest cholesterol content is found in myelin. We therefore created mice that lack the ability to synthesize cholesterol in myelin-forming oligodendrocytes. Mutant oligodendrocytes survived, but CNS myelination was severely perturbed, and mutant mice showed ataxia and tremor. CNS myelination continued at a reduced rate for many months, and during this period, the cholesterol-deficient oligodendrocytes actively enriched cholesterol and assembled myelin with >70% of the cholesterol content of wild-type myelin. This shows that cholesterol is an indispensable component of myelin membranes and that cholesterol availability in oligodendrocytes is a rate-limiting factor for brain maturation.

PMID:
15793579
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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