Cholesterol has numerous quintessential functions in normal cell physiology, as well as in embryonic and postnatal development. It is a major component of cell membranes and myelin, and is a precursor of steroid hormones and bile acids. The development of the blood brain barrier likely around 12-18 weeks of human gestation makes the developing embryonic/fetal brain dependent on endogenous cholesterol synthesis. Known enzyme defects along the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway result in a host of neurodevelopmental and behavioral findings along with CNS structural anomalies. In this article, we review sterol synthesis disorders in the pre- and post-squalene pathway highlighting neurodevelopmental aspects that underlie the clinical presentations and course of Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS), mevalonic aciduria (MVA) or the milder version hyper-immunoglobulinemia D and periodic fever syndrome (HIDS), Antley-Bixler syndrome with genital anomalies and disordered steroidogenesis (ABS1), congenital hemidysplasia with icthyosiform nevus and limb defects (CHILD) syndrome, CK syndrome, sterol C4 methyl oxidase (SC4MOL) deficiency, X-linked dominant chondrodysplasia punctata 2(CDPX2)/ Conradi Hunermann syndrome, lathosterolosis and desmosterolosis, We also discuss current controversies and share thoughts on future directions in the field.
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