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STUDY: Dietary cholesterol promotes repair of demyelinated lesions in the adult brain

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  • STUDY: Dietary cholesterol promotes repair of demyelinated lesions in the adult brain

    Be still my pizza heart. Now, if only cholesterol didn't literally work to stop it, sigh. - Dave

    Hence, cholesterol supplementation enhances repair after demyelination and improves neurological outcomes by supporting oligodendrocyte proliferation and differentiation, promoting remyelination, decreasing microgliosis, and attenuating axonal damage in a permissive environment (‘induced remyelination’ after cuprizone withdrawal).

    Dietary cholesterol promotes repair of demyelinated lesions in the adult brain

    Stefan A. Berghoff, Nina Gerndt, Jan Winchenbach, Sina K. Stumpf, Leon Hosang, Francesca Odoardi, Torben Ruhwedel, Carolin Böhler, Benoit Barrette, Ruth Stassart, David Liebetanz, Payam Dibaj, Wiebke Möbius, Julia M. Edgar*& Gesine Saher

    Nature Communications 8, Article*number:*14241 (2017)
    Download Citation
    Multiple sclerosisOligodendrocyte
    22 April 2016
    12 December 2016
    Published online:
    24 January 2017


    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder in which remyelination failure contributes to persistent disability. Cholesterol is rate-limiting for myelin biogenesis in the developing CNS; however, whether cholesterol insufficiency contributes to remyelination failure in MS, is unclear. Here, we show the relationship between cholesterol, myelination and neurological parameters in mouse models of demyelination and remyelination. In the cuprizone model, acute disease reduces serum cholesterol levels that can be restored by dietary cholesterol. Concomitant with blood-brain barrier impairment, supplemented cholesterol directly supports oligodendrocyte precursor proliferation and differentiation, and restores the balance of growth factors, creating a permissive environment for repair. This leads to attenuated axon damage, enhanced remyelination and improved motor learning. Remarkably, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, cholesterol supplementation does not exacerbate disease expression. These findings emphasize the safety of dietary cholesterol in inflammatory diseases and point to a previously unrecognized role of cholesterol in promoting repair after demyelinating episodes.


    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    The respected Bart's MS Blog had this to say about the study.

    The message of the paper is that dietary cholesterol may be useful in myelin repair and as myelin is largely fat, is it surprising that there could be some influence on myelination. The implications are clear, but before you start diving into that plate of cheese, there needs to be some balance.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Whilst the inference of the mouse study is that increasing cholesterol will promote remyelination, however there is even more evidence that elevated cholesterol levels are risk factors for a large number of conditions, including cardio-vascular disease.*

    Dave Bexfield


    • #3
      So, cholesterol passed the blood-brain barrier? I wonder if studying that process might lead to finding how T cells cross the barrier to attack our myelin.