Abstract Title:

Inhibition of cholesterol production but not of nonsterol isoprenoid products induces neuronal cell death.

Abstract Source:

J Neurochem. 1999 Jun ;72(6):2278-85. PMID: 10349836

Abstract Author(s):

M Michikawa, K Yanagisawa

Article Affiliation:

Department of Dementia Research, National Institute for Longevity Sciences, Aichi, Japan.


Deficiency of nonsterol isoprenoids, intermediate metabolites of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway, has been known to cause an inhibition of DNA synthesis and cell growth, and to induce apoptosis in nonneuronal cells. To investigate whether this is also the case in neurons, we examined the effect of a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor on the viability of neuronal cultures prepared from fetal rat brains. Treatment with compactin, a competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, induced neuronal death in a dose-dependent manner. Concurrent treatment with cholesterol, beta-migrating very low density lipoprotein, mevalonate, or squalene substantially inhibited the induction of neuronal death by compactin. Cell death was also induced by treatment with squalestatin, which specifically inhibits cholesterol biosynthesis at a site downstream from the generation of nonsterol metabolites. Furthermore, squalestatin-induced neuronal death was inhibited by concurrent incubation with squalene but not mevalonate. In contrast, cell growth of proliferating cells such as NIH 3T3 and PC12 cells was exclusively dependent on the level of nonsterol isoprenoid products and not that of cholesterol. The results of this study clearly indicate that the viability of neurons, different from that of nonneuronal cells, depends on the intracellular cholesterol content and not on the intermediate nonsterol isoprenoid products.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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