Cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease - Is there a relation?

Magnus Sjögren, Michelle Mielke, Deborah Gustafson, Peter Zandi, Ingmar Skoog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The predominating theory on the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) concerns the mis-metabolism of amyloid precursor protein (APP). As a result of this mis-metabolism, there is an increased production of the 42 amino acid form of β-amyloid (Aβ42) that rapidly will form oligomers that initiates a cascade of events leading to the accumulation of amyloid plaques. Commonly recognised as vascular factors, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes and the inheritance of the ε4 allele of the APOE gene, are also risk factors for AD. These risks have been found to promote the production of Aβ42. An association between cholesterol and the development of AD was suggested in the early 1990s and ever since, an increasing amount of research has confirmed that there is a link between cholesterol and the development of AD. A high cholesterol levels in mid-life is a risk for AD and statins, i.e., cholesterol-lowering drugs, reduce this risk. Statins may not only inhibit enzymes involved in the endogenous synthesis of cholesterol but also affect enzymes involved in Aβ metabolism, i.e., α-secretase and β-secretase. This normalises the breakdown of APP thereby promoting the non-amyloidogenic pathway. In this review, investigations focusing on cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid precursor protein
  • Cholesterol
  • Statins
  • β-Amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology


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