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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Jul;1259:54-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06513.x.

The link between altered cholesterol metabolism and Alzheimer's disease.

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1
Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine San Luigi Gonzaga, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is characterized by the progressive loss of neurons and synapses, and by extracellular deposits of amyloid-β (Aβ) as senile plaques, Aβ deposits in the cerebral blood vessels, and intracellular inclusions of hyperphosphorylated tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles. Several mechanisms contribute to AD development and progression, and increasing epidemiological and molecular evidence suggests a key role of cholesterol in its initiation and progression. Altered cholesterol metabolism and hypercholesterolemia appear to play fundamental roles in amyloid plaque formation and tau hyperphosphorylation. Over the last decade, growing evidence supports the idea that cholesterol oxidation products, known as oxysterols, may be the missing link between altered brain cholesterol metabolism and AD pathogenesis, as their involvement in neurotoxicity, mainly by interacting with Aβ peptides, is reported.

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