Cholesterol Metabolism: A Review of How Ageing Disrupts the Biological Mechanisms Responsible for its Regulation

AE Morgan, KM Mooney, SJ Wilkinson, NA Pickles, MT Mc Auley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Cholesterol plays a vital role in the human body as a precursor of steroid hormones and bile acids, in addition to providing structure to cell membranes. Whole body cholesterol metabolism is maintained by a highly coordinated balancing act between cholesterol ingestion, synthesis, absorption, and excretion. The aim of this review is to discuss how ageing interacts with these processes. Firstly, we will present an overview of cholesterol metabolism. Following this, we discuss how the biological mechanisms which underpin cholesterol metabolism are effected by ageing. Included in this discussion are lipoprotein dynamics, cholesterol absorption/synthesis and the enterohepatic circulation/synthesis of bile acids. Moreover, we discuss the role of oxidative stress in the pathological progression of atherosclerosis and also discuss how cholesterol biosynthesis is effected by both the mammalian target of rapamycin and sirtuin pathways. Next, we examine how diet and alterations to the gut microbiome can be used to mitigate the impact ageing has on cholesterol metabolism. We conclude by discussing how mathematical models of cholesterol metabolism can be used to identify therapeutic interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-124
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Early online date1 Apr 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2016


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