High levels of cholesterol have been proposed as a risk factor for Alzheimers disease (AD). Polymorphism of genes encoding proteins that regulate cholesterol metabolism have also been associated with the frequency of Alzheimers development. Some studies have shown that cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce the frequency of AD development. The proposed role of cholesterol in AD has been challenged by several studies. In this review, we provide a brief account of the major pieces of evidence in support of and against the possible role of cholesterol in the development of AD, and the methodologies used. We highlight the interactions between cholesterol and amyloid beta (Aβ) and, with the peptides precursor protein. Drawing from our teams recent findings, we speculate on how Aβ peptides may influence the fluidity, stability of the membrane, as well as membrane morphological changes.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, cholesterol, lipids, amyloid beta, amyloid precursor protein, lipid raft domains, membrane, lipid vesicles
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