ALZHEIMER’S AND CHOLESTEROL: A MISUNDERSTOOD LINK
A recently published research sheds new light on the link between cholesterol levels in rodent brain and neurodegenerative processes (Abad-Rodriguez et al. Neuronal membrane cholesterol loss enhances amyloid peptide generation. J. Cell Biol. 167, 953-960, 2004).
Abad-Rodriguez faces this contradiction: reducing cholesterol levels in the mouse brain seems to promote degeneration while cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as the statins, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The Authors conclude that commonly used statins scarcely penetrate the blood-brain barrier, so their benefits might derive from their anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant properties rather than their direct effect on brain neurons.