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Cholesterol Increases Risk of Alzheimer's
Myriam
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:25 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


(Source: Medical Express) - High levels of blood cholesterol increase the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and heart disease, but it has been unclear exactly how cholesterol damages the brain to promote Alzheimer's disease and blood vessels to promote atherosclerosis.

Using insights gained from studying two much rarer disorders, Down Syndrome and Niemann Pick-C disease, researchers found that cholesterol wreaks havoc on the orderly process of cell division, leading to defective daughter cells throughout the body. This new study shows that cholesterol, particularly in the LDL form, called 'bad cholesterol', causes cells in both humans and mice to divide incorrectly and distribute their already-duplicated chromosomes unequally to the next generation. The result is an accumulation of defective daughter cells with the wrong number of chromosomes and therefore the wrong number of genes.. Human trisomy 21 cells are significant because people with Down syndrome have trisomy 21 in all of their cells from the moment of conception, and they all develop the brain pathology and many develop the dementia of Alzheimer's disease by age 50. Earlier studies have shown that as many as 10% of cells in an Alzheimer patient, including neurons in the brain, have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two. Thus, Alzheimer's disease is, in some ways, a form of acquired Down syndrome.

Furthermore, mutant genes that cause inherited Alzheimer's disease cause the same defect in chromosome segregation as does cholesterol, thus indicating the presence of a common cell division problem in both familial and 'sporadic' (non-familial) Alzheimer's disease.


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