24S-hydroxycholesterol in relation to disease manifestations of acute experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

C E Teunissen, S Floris, M Sonke, C D Dijkstra, H E De Vries, D Lütjohann

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Levels of the brain-specific cholesterol metabolite 24S-hydroxycholesterol are proposed as possible biomarkers for multiple sclerosis (MS). It is not yet clear for which aspect of the MS disease manifestations 24S-hydroxycholesterol is a reflection. We studied the relation of serum levels of 24S-hydroxycholesterol and other sterols to the disease characteristics of acute experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Serum was analyzed for cholesterol precursors, oxysterols, and plant sterols during the course of disease development. Significantly increased levels of the cholesterol metabolites 24S-hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol were observed on day 9, before the onset of clinical signs. The serum levels of these oxysterols gradually increased up to 193% and 415%, respectively, at day 17, when clinical symptoms had recovered. Total cholesterol levels were slightly but significantly decreased on day 9 and day 17 in treated animals. Serum levels of cholesterol precursors and plant sterols decreased gradually from day 11 and day 14, respectively. Immunostaining of the 24S-hydroxycholesterol-forming enzyme Cyp46 was shown in macrophage infiltrates. In vitro experiments confirmed the presence of Cyp46 in macrophages and showed a decreased expression after LPS treatment. The data indicate that changes in serum oxysterols occur early in EAE and can be formed by macrophages. These early changes indicate an important role for oxysterols in the development of EAE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499-505
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2007


  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Cholesterol 24-Hydroxylase
  • Cholesterol/metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental/blood
  • Hydroxycholesterols/blood
  • Macrophages/enzymology
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis/blood
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Steroid Hydroxylases/metabolism

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