British researchers have shown that cholesterol, which is usually associated with cardiovascular disease, also plays an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
As mentioned in the related article of the journal Nature Chemistry, international scientific team led specialists Cambridge University discovered that brain cholesterol acts as a catalyst which promotes the formation of toxic blocks beta-amyloid protein, which is already known to play a central role on the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
For the time being, however, it is not clear whether this new observation concerns both dietary cholesterol, which does not penetrate the blood brain barrier. Other studies have found a relationship between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease, since some genes that process cholesterol in the brain have been associated with the disease, but the underlying mechanism is not clear.
Now researchers have found that cholesterol, which is a major component of neuronal cell walls, can cause the accumulation of β-amyloid molecules. This in turn gradually contributes to the formation of amyloid plaques, resulting in the death of brain cells.
While the relationship b-amyloid and Alzheimer’s disease are well thought out, so far scientists have not made it clear that the accumulation of the protein in the brain begins after normally remains low. “B-amyloid levels in the brain are usually thousands of times lower than those seen in the laboratory. So what’s wrong? “, Queries Professor Mister Verdruskello, head of the study.
In collaboration with experts at the University of Lund in Sweden, scientists have observed in vitro studies that the presence of cholesterol in cell membranes causes the accumulation of β-amyloid. Indeed, the presence of cholesterol appears to accelerate the accumulation of β-amyloid by 20 times.
“The question that remains to be answered is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but that will check in Alzheimer’s disease by regulating its interaction with beta-amyloid,” says Dr. Verntrouskolo.
And he says, “We do not claim that cholesterol is the only cause triggering Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s definitely one of the causes. We need to understand in greater detail how the balance of cholesterol in the brain is maintained in order to find ways to deactivate its catalytic role in triggering the accumulation of β-amyloid. “