Cholesterol Trafficking in the Brain: Are We Overlooking an Important Risk Factor for Parkinson Disease?

Elevated plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels have been regarded for decades as an important protective factor against cardiovascular disease.1 Besides their popularly known antiatherogenic effect, via modulation of blood cholesterol trafficking, HDL cholesterol levels are directly involved in the proper functioning of many organs and tissues through activation of multiple antioxidant pathways and blunting of the inflammatory response.2 In the field of neurology, elevated plasma HDL cholesterol levels have recently been associated with a decreased risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease (PD), although results are controversial.3

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