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ROLE OF CHOLESTEROL IN THE AGING BRAIN

S. Dudani

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(3):261-263

Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes and is critical for cell survival and performance.The Central nervous system (CNS) contains nearly 23% of total body cholesterol even though it represents only 2.2 % of total body weight. Cholesterol is required by the brain for active axonal growth, synapse formation and remodelling. Changes in the level of cholesterol are seen to occur in the brain in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this article, we review the role of cholesterol in normal brain function as well examine the changes associated with hypercholesterolemia and aging. Understanding the causes and consequences of these changes would help to design strategies to delay cognitive decline associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases.In view of the increased longevity seen, this would go a long way to help reduce the morbidity associated with these conditions in the increasing geriatric population.

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