Cholesterol in Alzheimer's disease

Lancet Neurol. 2005 Dec;4(12):841-52. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(05)70248-9.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of neurodegenerative dementia and affects up to 15 million people worldwide. Although no single cause of AD has been identified, recent research has suggested that several pathogenetic factors influence risk and expression. A growing amount of evidence underscores a mechanistic link between cholesterol metabolism in the brain and the formation of amyloid plaques. Excess brain cholesterol has been associated with increased formation and deposition of amyloid-beta peptide from amyloid precursor protein. Cholesterol-lowering statins have become a focus of research in AD. Genetic polymorphisms associated with pivotal points in cholesterol metabolism in brain tissues may contribute to the risk and pathogenesis of AD. In this review, we summarise current knowledge of the role of cholesterol metabolism in the pathogenesis of AD and examine the potential of statins in the prevention and treatment of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / genetics
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Risk


  • Cholesterol