Brain cell type-specific cholesterol metabolism and implications for learning and memory

Trends Neurosci. 2022 May;45(5):401-414. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2022.01.002. Epub 2022 Feb 17.


Cholesterol homeostasis is vital for brain function. Brain cholesterol is locally synthesized, with varying synthesis capacities across different cell types. Moreover, brain cholesterol horizontally transfers across various cell types not only to accommodate distinct cholesterol needs, but also to fulfill regulatory functions in target cells. Cholesterol metabolism within individual cell types is essential for brain functioning, and the role of cholesterol-related communication between different cell types is gaining growing recognition. Cholesterol metabolism dysfunction is tightly associated with brain aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we provide an overview of recent studies on cholesterol metabolism within specific cell types and in relation to the interplay between different cell types. We also discuss the implications of these processes for learning and memory, and their relevance to brain aging and AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; ApoE; brain aging; glia; neuron–glia crosstalk; synaptic function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Brain* / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Humans


  • Cholesterol