Hypercholesterolemia is associated with cognitively deteriorated states. Here, we show that excess 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OH), a cholesterol metabolite passing from the circulation into the brain, reduced in vivo brain glucose uptake, GLUT4 expression, and spatial memory. Furthermore, patients exhibiting higher 27-OH levels had reduced 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake. This interplay between 27-OH and glucose uptake revealed the engagement of the insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP). 27-OH increased the levels and activity of IRAP, countered the IRAP antagonist angiotensin IV (AngIV)–mediated glucose uptake, and enhanced the levels of the AngIV-degrading enzyme aminopeptidase N (AP-N). These effects were mediated by liver X receptors. Our results reveal a molecular link between cholesterol, brain glucose, and the brain renin-angiotensin system, all of which are affected in some neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, reducing 27-OH levels or inhibiting AP-N maybe a useful strategy in the prevention of the altered glucose metabolism and memory decline in these disorders.
- Submitted: 14 April 2016
- Revision received 17 August 2016
- Accepted: 28 October 2016
This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).