The brain contains more cholesterol than any other organ in the body, and cholesterol metabolism plays a large role in the health of our nerve cells. Abnormalities in cholesterol-related genes appear to increase the risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) possibly by increasing production of the neurotoxic peptide, amyloid-β. The study in the ARCHIVES by Scherzer et al1 identifies another important mechanism showing that cholesterol metabolism affects neurodegeneration. Scherzer et al show that brains from donors with AD exhibit greatly reduced levels of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) receptor LR11, which is a lipoprotein receptor that is pres ent in the brain as well as the periphery. This observation provides important insights into how cholesterol metabolism changes in degenerating neurons.
Wolozin B. Apolipoprotein E Receptor LR11Intersections Between Neurodegeneration and Cholesterol Metabolism. Arch Neurol. 2004;61(8):1178-1180. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.8.1178