|Cholesterol synthesis inhibition or depletion in axon regeneration.|
Neural regeneration research. 2022; 17(2): 271-276
Cholesterol is biosynthesized by all animal cells. Beyond its metabolic role in steroidogenesis, it is enriched in the plasma membrane where it has key structural and regulatory functions. Cholesterol is thus presumably important for post-injury axon regrowth, and this notion is supported by studies showing that impairment of local cholesterol reutilization impeded regeneration. However, several studies have also shown that statins, inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, are enhancers of axon regeneration, presumably acting through an attenuation of the mevalonate isoprenoid pathway and consequent reduction in protein prenylation. Several recent reports have now shown that cholesterol depletion, as well as inhibition of cholesterol synthesis per se, enhances axon regeneration. Here, I discussed these findings and propose some possible underlying mechanisms. The latter would include possible disruptions to axon growth inhibitor signaling by lipid raft-localized receptors, as well as other yet unclear neuronal survival signaling process enhanced by cholesterol lowering or depletion.