Article Text

Regulation of Cerebral Cholesterol Metabolism in Alzheimer Disease
  1. Allison B. Reiss, MD,
  2. Iryna Voloshyna, PhD
  1. From the Winthrop Research Institute, Department of Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY.
  1. Received October 19, 2011, and in revised form December 14, 2011.
  2. Accepted for publication December 14, 2011.
  3. Reprints: Allison B. Reiss, MD, Department of Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, 222 Station Plaza, North, Suite 502, Mineola, NY 11501. E-mail: AReiss{at}
  4. Supported by a grant from the Neuroscience Education and Research Foundation and an Innovative Research Grant from the Arthritis Foundation. Supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (R13 RR023236).


Alzheimer disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder that manifests as a progressive loss of memory and deterioration of higher cognitive functions. Alzheimer disease is characterized by accumulation in the brain of the β-amyloid peptide generated by β- and γ-secretase processing of amyloid precursor protein. Epidemiological studies have linked elevated plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels in midlife with AD development. Cholesterol-fed animal models exhibit neuropathologic features of AD including accumulation of β-amyloid peptide. Specific isoforms of the cholesterol transporter apolipoprotein E are associated with susceptibility to AD. Although multiple lines of evidence indicate a role for cholesterol in AD, the exact impact and mechanisms involved remain largely unknown. This review summarizes the current state of our knowledge of the influence of cholesterol and lipid pathways in AD pathogenesis in vitro and in vivo.

Key Words
  • Alzheimer disease
  • amyloid precursor protein
  • β-amyloid peptide
  • oxysterol
  • apolipoprotein E
  • ABCA1
  • LXR

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