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The Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease—Can Oxysterol Analysis Provide a New Avenue of Exploration for Alzheimer’s Disease Detection and Prevention?


Alzheimer’s disease is a serious neurological disorder with no cure available. As the disease progresses, mental function deteriorates, and patients develop dementia and slowly lose access to memories.

The number of people globally diagnosed with dementia is expected to rise to 153 million by 2050, a 300% increase from 2019 rates.1 Aging populations and improved methods of detection contribute to that increase. Given the numbers, many stand to benefit from improved prevention and therapeutics.

Cholesterol in Alzheimer’s Disease Research

It is well documented that cholesterol levels impact the central nervous system and are related to acquired neurological conditions.2 Specifically, research has linked the etiopathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease to abnormal sterol metabolism.2,3 Thus analysis of sterols and oxysterols can provide new insights into the origin and pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps empowering therapies and diagnostics for the prediction and treatment of future cases.

Certain oxysterols are ligands to Liver X-activated receptors (LXR), and certain LXRs, when activated, reduce lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis.2 Further, oxysterol metabolism impacts neuronal membrane plasticity, survival, and turnover, all of which can contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.2

Oxysterols’ Research Implications

More research is necessary to better leverage the measurement of oxysterols and their impact on biological processes to understand, predict, and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.4 In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, oxysterols have also been implicated in other diseases and disorders, such as lung cancer, multiple sclerosis, and infertility.4–6

Given oxysterols’ documented role in the progression of certain diseases, researchers are using that knowledge to better understand Alzheimer’s disease as well as other diseases and disorders.

Ready to see what new insights oxysterols can help your research reveal?
Contact us today to discuss your project or study.


1. Anghel, Irina. “Worldwide Dementia Patients Set to Triple by 2050, Study Says.” Bloomberg. 6 January 2022. Online. 26 August 2022.

2. Vaya, J., Schipper, H.M. Oxysterols, cholesterol homeostasis, and Alzheimer disease. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2007; 102(6): 1727-1737.

3. J.R. Hascalovici, W. Song, A. Liberman, J. Vaya, S. Khatib, C. Holcroft, F. Laferla, H.M. Schipper. Neural HO-1/sterol interactions in vivo: Implications for Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroscience. 2014; 280:40-49.

4. Samadi A, Sabuncuoglu S, Samadi M, Isikhan SY, Chirumbolo S, Peana M, Lay I, Yalcinkaya A, Bjørklund G. A Comprehensive Review on Oxysterols and Related Diseases. Curr Med Chem. 2021; 28(1): 110-136. doi: 10.2174/0929867327666200316142659.

5. Poli G, Biasi F, Leonarduzzi G. Oxysterols in the pathogenesis of major chronic diseases. Redox Biol. 2013; 1(1):125–30.

6. Brzeska, M., Szymczyk, K., Szterk, A. Current Knowledge about Oxysterols: A Review. Journal of food science. 2016; 81: 2299-2308. DOI:

Jason Winnike, Ph.D.
Jason joined Metabolon in 2020 and is a Senior Study Director in the department of Discovery and Translational Sciences, where he serves as a scientific and technical liaison for Metabolon’s Academic, Government, and Population Health clients.


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