Cholesterol metabolism is associated with soluble amyloid precursor protein production in Alzheimer's disease


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Julius Popp, MD,Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Lausanne, Route du Mont, 1008 Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland.



Disturbances of the cholesterol metabolism are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk and related cerebral pathology. Experimental studies found changing levels of cholesterol and its metabolites 24S-hydroxycholesterol (24S-OHC) and 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OHC) to contribute to amyloidogenesis by increasing the production of soluble amyloid precursor protein (sAPP). The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the CSF and circulating cholesterol 24S-OHC and 27-OHC, and the sAPP production as measured by CSF concentrations of sAPP forms in humans. The plasma and the CSF concentrations of cholesterol, 24S-OHC and 27-OHC, and the CSF concentrations of sAPPα, sAPPβ, and Aß1-42 were assessed in subjects with AD and controls with normal cognition. In multivariate regression tests including age, gender, albumin ratio, and apolipoprotein E (APOE)ε4 status CSF cholesterol, 24S-OHC, and 27-OHC independently predicted the concentrations of sAPPα and sAPPβ. The associations remained significant when analyses were separately performed in the AD group. Furthermore, plasma 27-OHC concentrations were associated with the CSF sAPP levels. The results suggest that high CSF concentrations of cholesterol, 24S-OHC, and 27-OHC are associated with increased production of both sAPP forms in AD.