Decoding a New Disease Culprit;

Oxysterols May Be Involved in Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Heart Disease


In its December 7, 2010 edition (click here for full article), THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reported that while cholesterol has long been in scientists’ sights, particularly when it comes to the link between high levels and heart disease, researchers are now also looking at substances created when the body breaks down cholesterol. Known as oxysterols, these molecules may contribute to illnesses as varied as Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.

Dr. Dan Ory of Washington University in St. Louis, one of the principal investigators for SOAR-NPC, the treatment collaborative of which DART is a part, is cited among the researchers.  “Scientists say they hope to develop an “oxysterol profile” that would be associated with a certain disease and allow doctors to identify people who might be at higher risk for a condition. … Last month, scientists took an important step toward this goal when researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health announced that they found a unique oxysterol profile for a rare inheritable disease called Niemann-Pick Type C, a fatal cholesterol metabolism disorder.” …

” ‘We don’t know the net effect of manipulating the oxysterols,’ says Hyman Schipper, professor of neurology and medicine at McGill University and Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, whose lab has found links between Alzheimer’s disease and oxysterols. … In the recent NPC study, researchers also reported that an experimental drug called cyclodextrin lowered the levels of oxysterols in cats with the disease. In animal models of NPC, the animals who get cyclodextrin live longer, although scientists do not understand why. … Researchers are also giving cyclodextrin to mice with Alzheimer’s disease to see if it has any effect on the disorder.”