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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 814390, 16 pages
Review Article

The Impact of Cholesterol, DHA, and Sphingolipids on Alzheimer’s Disease

1Experimental Neurology, Saarland University, Kirrberger Street 1, 66421 Homburgr, Saar, Germany
2Neurodegeneration and Neurobiology, Saarland University, Kirrberger Street 1, 66421 Homburg, Germany
3Deutsches Institut für DemenzPrävention (DIDP), Saarland University, Kirrberger Street 1, 66421 Homburgr, Saar, Germany

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 13 July 2013

Academic Editor: Cheng-Xin Gong

Copyright © 2013 Marcus O. W. Grimm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder currently affecting over 35 million people worldwide. Pathological hallmarks of AD are massive amyloidosis, extracellular senile plaques, and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles accompanied by an excessive loss of synapses. Major constituents of senile plaques are 40–42 amino acid long peptides termed β-amyloid (Aβ). Aβ is produced by sequential proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP processing and Aβ production have been one of the central scopes in AD research in the past. In the last years, lipids and lipid-related issues are more frequently discussed to contribute to the AD pathogenesis. This review summarizes lipid alterations found in AD postmortem brains, AD transgenic mouse models, and the current understanding of how lipids influence the molecular mechanisms leading to AD and Aβ generation, focusing especially on cholesterol, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and sphingolipids/glycosphingolipids.