Diet and age interactions with regards to cholesterol regulation and brain pathogenesis

Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2010;2010:219683. doi: 10.1155/2010/219683. Epub 2010 Apr 11.


Cholesterol is an essential molecule for brain homeostasis; yet, hypercholesterolemia and its numerous complications are believed to play a role in promoting multiple aspects of brain pathogenesis. An ever increasing number of individuals in modern Western Society are regularly consuming diets high in fat which promote the development of hypercholesterolemia. Additionally, modern societies are becoming increasingly aged, causing a collision between increased hypercholesterolemia and increased aging, which will likely lead to the development of increased pathological conditions due to hypercholesterolemia, thereby promoting deleterious neurochemical and behavioral changes in the brain. Lastly, while beneficial in controlling cholesterol levels, the long-term use of statins itself may potentially promote adverse effects on brain homeostasis, although specifics on this remain largely unknown. This review will focus on linking the current understanding of diet-induced hypercholesterolemia (as well as statin use) to the development of oxidative stress, neurochemical alterations, and cognitive disturbances in the aging brain.