Cholesterol homeostasis: Researching a dialogue between the brain and peripheral tissues

Pharmacol Res. 2021 Jan:163:105215. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105215. Epub 2020 Sep 29.


Cholesterol homeostasis is a highly regulated process in human body because of its several functions underlying the biology of cell membranes, the synthesis of all steroid hormones and bile acids and the need of trafficking lipids destined to cell metabolism. In particular, it has been recognized that peripheral and central nervous system cholesterol metabolism are separated by the blood brain barrier and are regulated independently; indeed, peripherally, it depends on the balance between dietary intake and hepatic synthesis on one hand and its degradation on the other, whereas in central nervous system it is synthetized de novo to ensure brain physiology. In view of this complex metabolism and its relevant functions in mammalian, impaired levels of cholesterol can induce severe cellular dysfunction leading to metabolic, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this review is to clarify the role of cholesterol homeostasis in health and disease highlighting new intriguing aspects of the cross talk between its central and peripheral metabolism.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk factors; Cholesterol homeostasis; Lipoproteins; Neurological diseases; Oxysterols; miRNAs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism


  • Cholesterol