Thursday, 24 January 2013
MORE EVIDENCE THAT CHOLESTEROL IS VITAL FOR THE BRAIN AND IMMUNITY !
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:45PM
Two recent studies have confirmed the vital importance of cholesterol, in particular, for brain function and the strength of the immune system.
Scientists at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and Swansea University’s College of Medicine have identified two steroid-type molecules that play an important role in the survival and production of nerve cells in the brain.
These two molecules are cholic acid (a bile acid ) and 24S,25-Epoxycholesterol (a derivative of cholesterol)
24S,25-Epoxycholesterol can be used to turn stem cells into midbrain dopamine-producing neurons, and may help combat Parkinson’s disease.
“...24S,25-Epoxycholesterol, influences the generation of new dopamine-producing nerve cells, which are important in controlling movement.” said Professor William J Griffiths.
"What we have shown now is that cholesterol has several functions, and that it is involved in extremely important decisions for neurons. Derivatives of cholesterol control the production of new neurons in the developing brain. When such a decision has been taken, cholesterol aids in the construction of these new cells, and in their survival. Thus cholesterol is extremely important for the body, and in particular for the development and function of the brain." Ernest Arenas, Professor of Stem Cell Neurobiology at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet.
It is important to note that 24S,25-Epoxycholesterol is produced by the mevalonate biochemical pathway – the pathway that is blocked by cholesterol-lowering statins.
The research was published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
The second study was completed by a team of researchers at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Prof. Wolfgang Schamel and colleagues investigated the 'memory' of the immune system.
When the immune system is first exposed to a new pathogen, it develops the ability to be more sensitive to it when it enters the body the next time. This 'memory' of the immune system is provided by a clustering of T cell receptors. The new study, published in the journals Immunity and Journal of Biological Chemistry, has demonstrated that cholesterol plays a key part in this process.
We already know that one of the most common adverse effects of cholesterol-lowering statins is cognitive decline, and there is a strong correlation between low cholesterol levels and increased infections.