Genetic disorders of cholesterol biosynthesis in mice and humans

Mol Genet Metab. Sep-Oct 2001;74(1-2):105-19. doi: 10.1006/mgme.2001.3226.


Over the past few years, the number of identified inborn errors of cholesterol biosynthesis has increased significantly. The first inborn error of cholesterol biosynthesis to be characterized, in the mid 1980s, was mevalonic aciduria. In 1993, Irons et al. ( 1 ) (M. Irons, E. R. Elias, G. Salen, G. S. Tint, and A. K. Batta, Lancet 341:1414, 1993) reported that Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, a classic autosomal recessive malformation syndrome, was due to an inborn error of cholesterol biosynthesis. This was the first inborn error of postsqualene cholesterol biosynthesis to be identified, and subsequently additional inborn errors of postsqualene cholesterol biosynthesis have been characterized to various extent. To date, eight inborn errors of cholesterol metabolism have been described in human patients or in mutant mice. The enzymatic steps impaired in these inborn errors of metabolism include mevolonate kinase (mevalonic aciduria as well as hyperimmunoglobulinemia D and periodic fever syndrome), squalene synthase (Ss-/- mouse), 3beta-hydroxysteroid Delta14-reductase (hydrops-ectopic calcification-moth-eaten skeletal dysplasia), 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (CHILD syndrome, bare patches mouse, and striated mouse), 3beta-hydroxysteroid Delta8,Delta7-isomerase (X-linked dominant chondrodysplasia punctata type 2, CHILD syndrome, and tattered mouse), 3beta-hydroxysteroid Delta24-reductase (desmosterolosis) and 3beta-hydroxysteroid Delta7-reductase (RSH/Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome and Dhcr7-/- mouse). Identification of the genetic and biochemical defects which give rise to these syndromes has provided the first step in understanding the pathophysiological processes which underlie these malformation syndromes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / biosynthesis*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / enzymology
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics*
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / urine
  • Mevalonic Acid / urine


  • Cholesterol
  • Mevalonic Acid