The Role of cholesterol in disorders of brain and behavior

human and animal perspectives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Abnormal cholesterol metabolism is likely to have significant adverse impacts on the functioning of the brain and hence on behavior, given its key role in membrane function. In this chapter we examine the animal and human literature pertaining to links between abnormal cholesterol metabolism and impaired brain and behavioral function. In particular we focus on Alzheimer’s disease, suicide, depression, aggression, impulsivity, and autism. The literature indicates associations between all of these conditions and abnormalities in cholesterol metabolism, although the evidence base indicates substantial heterogeneity of outcome. An especially important line of evidence has come from lipid lowering medications, which have provided key causal data. This has suggested that abnormal cholesterol metabolism may have a more specialized role than was once first thought, affecting particular subgroups (e.g. violent suicides), rather than populations in general.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of cholesterol
Subtitle of host publicationbiology, function and role in health and diseases
EditorsRonald Ross Watson, Fabien De Meester
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868216
ISBN (Print)9789086862764
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameHuman health handbooks
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISSN (Print)2212-375X


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • suicide
  • depression
  • aggression
  • autism

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    Stevenson, R. J., & Francis, H. M. (2016). The Role of cholesterol in disorders of brain and behavior: human and animal perspectives. In R. R. Watson, & F. De Meester (Eds.), Handbook of cholesterol: biology, function and role in health and diseases (pp. 53-69). (Human health handbooks; Vol. 11). The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.