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Chronic high cholesterol diet produces brain damage
Date:11/24/2010

London, UK, 24 November 2010 Research from the Laboratory of Psychiatry and Experimental Alzheimers Research (http://www2.i-med.ac.at/psychlab/) at the Medical University Innsbruck (Austria) demonstrated that chronic high fat cholesterol diet in rats exhibited pathologies similar to Alzheimer's disease. The results were published in Molecular Cellular Neuroscience (45(4):408-417, 2010) with lead author Dr. Christian Humpel. The study was co-authored by PhD students, Celine Ullrich and Michael Pirchl, from the same Laboratory.

Alzheimer's disease is a severe neurodegenerative disorder of the brain that is characterized by loss of memory and cognitive decline. The majority of Alzheimer's disease cases are sporadic (risk age >60 years), and only <2.5% have a genetic disposition. It is estimated that in 2050, approximately 80 million people will suffer from Alzheimer's disease worldwide. The major pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease are extracellular aggregates (plaques) of the small peptide beta-amyloid, hyperphosphorylation of the protein tau and subsequent formation of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, degeneration of neurons secreting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, inflammation, and cerebrovascular dysfunction.

The causes for Alzheimer's disease are not known, but dysregulation of amyloid-precursor protein expression and beta-amyloid clearance is hypothesized (beta-amyloid cascade). Alternatively, a pathological cascade of events may trigger hyper-phosphorylation of tau, putting the tau-hypothesis into the center. A third hypothesis suggests that chronic long-lasting mild cerebrovascular damage, including inflammatory processes and oxidative stress, may cause Alzheimer's disease. It has been suggested that Alzheimer's disease starts 20-30 years before first symptoms appear and recent studies have shown, that high cholesterol levels are linked to the pathology of this
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Contact: Christian Humpel
christian.humpel@i-med.ac.at
43-512-504-23712
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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