Role of cholesterol in parasitic infections

Lipids Health Dis. 2005 May 9;4:10. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-4-10.

Abstract

The requirement of cholesterol for internalization of eukaryotic pathogens like protozoa (Leishmaniasis, Malaria and Toxoplasmosis) and the exchange of cholesterol along with other metabolites during reproduction in Schistosomes (helminths) under variable circumstances are poorly understood. In patients infected with some other helminthes, alterations in the lipid profile have been observed. Also, the mechanisms involved in lipid changes especially in membrane proteins related to parasite infections remain uncertain. Present review of literature shows that parasites induce significant changes in lipid parameters, as has been shown in the in vitro study where substitution of serum by lipid/cholesterol in medium and in experimental models (in vivo). Thus changes in lipid profile occur in patients having active infections with most of the parasites. Membrane proteins are probably involved in such reactions. All parasites may be metabolising cholesterol, but the exact relationship with pathogenic mechanism is not clear. So far, studies suggest that there may be some factors or enzymes, which allow the parasite to breakup and consume lipid/cholesterol. Further studies are needed for better understanding of the mechanisms involved in vivo. The present review analysis the various studies till date and the role of cholesterol in pathogenesis of different parasitic infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Eukaryota / physiology
  • Humans
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Parasitic Diseases / metabolism*
  • Parasitic Diseases / parasitology

Substances

  • Cholesterol
  • Oxygen