Cholesterol Homeostasis and the Developing Brain: Implications for Autism Spectrum Disorders


  • Kristin Bergman


cholesterol metabolism, autism, growth cone, synapse, brain development


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of developmental psychiatric disorders characterized by limits in social behaviours, interests, and communication. Current research indicates that these symptoms may arise from certain patterns of overconnectivity and underconnectivity within the brain, which mainly form during prenatal development. There are many potential causes to this differential “wiring”, one of which may be improper cholesterol metabolism. Cholesterol is a vital component to neuron structure, and facilitates the formation of connections between neurons through growth cones that localize the proteins used for directional growth and synapse formation. Several cholesterol metabolism disorders are also commonly accompanied by ASD, indicating a potential link between cholesterol supply and the formation of neural networks. In this review paper, I will summarize current studies that explore the onset of ASD and the intricacies of neuron and synapse development in relation to cholesterol deficiency.






Natural Sciences