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Altered Cholesterol Metabolism in Alzheimer's Disease Development


Academic year 2022/2023

Teaching staff
Prof.ssa Paola Francesca Gamba (Titolare del corso)
Prof.ssa Gabriella Marisa Leonarduzzi (Titolare del corso)
Dott.ssa Gabriella Testa (Assistente)
Dott.ssa Erica Staurenghi (Assistente)
Degree course
Ciclo XXXV
Teaching period
Da definire
Course Seminario

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

It is well documented that altered cholesterol metabolism in the brain and hypercholesterolemia, together with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, significantly contribute to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis.

Among AD brain hallmarks, the presence of reactive astrocytes correlates with neuronal loss and cognitive deficits. Evidence indeed supports the role of reactive astrocytes as mediators of changes in neurons, including synapses.

Cholesterol oxidation products, known as oxysterols, are potentially involved in the pathogenesis of major chronic human diseases, including AD. The analysis of oxysterols in plasma and brain may contribute to clarify the role of cholesterol metabolism in AD pathogenesis and the crosstalk between astrocytes and neurons; ultimately, it may be helpful in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent or slow its development.


Results of learning outcomes

The aim of these activities is to offer PhD students in Experimental Medicine and Therapy (first year – 38° cycle) an up-date on current knowledge about cholesterol homeostasis and the involvement of cholesterol oxidation products in the pathogenesis of AD.


Learning assessment methods

Final test examination.



The activity will be structured in 2 lessons:

First lesson

1) Cholesterol metabolism in the brain (Dr Erica Staurenghi) – 1 hour

2) The role of oxysterols in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis (Dr Gabriella Testa) – 2 hours

Second lesson

1) Role of astrocyte reactivity in Alzheimer’s disease progression (Dr Erica Staurenghi) – 2 hours

2) Therapeutic strategies against Alzheimer’s disease (Dr Gabriella Testa) – 1 hour

Suggested readings and bibliography


  1. Gamba P, Giannelli S, Staurenghi E, Testa G, Sottero B, Biasi F, Poli G, Leonarduzzi G. The controversial role of 24-S-hydroxycholesterol in Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants 2021, 10:740.
  2. Gamba P, Staurenghi E, Testa G, Giannelli S, Sottero B, Leonarduzzi G. A Crosstalk Between Brain Cholesterol Oxidation and Glucose Metabolism in Alzheimer's Disease. Front Neurosci. 2019, 13:556.
  3. Sottero B, Leonarduzzi G, Testa G, Gargiulo S, Poli G, Biasi F. Lipid oxidation derived aldehydes and oxysterols between health and disease. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol. 2018: 1-16.
  4. Gamba P, Testa G, Gargiulo S, Staurenghi E, Poli G, Leonarduzzi G. Oxidized cholesterol as the driving force behind the development of Alzheimer's disease. Front Aging Neurosci. 2015, 7:119.
  5. Staurenghi E, Giannelli S, Testa G, Sottero B, Leonarduzzi G, Gamba P. Cholesterol Dysmetabolism in Alzheimer's Disease: A Starring Role for Astrocytes? Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Nov 26;10(12):1890.



Strongly recommended course for XXXV/XXXVI/XXXVII Cycle Second-Year students


September 8 and 15, 2023

Last update: 16/11/2023 10:20
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