Cholesterol plays an important role in synapse formation, receptor function, and synaptic plasticity, and animal studies show that modifying cholesterol may improve learning and memory. Other data show that feeding animals cholesterol can induce beta amyloid accumulation. Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) fed 2% cholesterol for 8 weeks were given trace conditioning of the nictitating membrane response using a 100-ms tone, a 700-ms trace, and periorbital electrical stimulation or airpuff. Rabbits fed cholesterol showed significant facilitation of trace conditioning to airpuff and conditioning-specific reflex modification to periorbital electrical stimulation and airpuff. The cholesterol-fed rabbits had beta amyloid accumulation in the cortex, but little in the hippocampus. The data suggest cholesterol had facilitative effects that outweighed potential amnesic effects of cortical beta amyloid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience