Brain is a vital organ of the human body which performs very important functions such as analysis, processing, coordination, and execution of electrical signals. For this purpose, it depends on a complex network of nerves which are ensheathed in lipids tailored myelin; an abundant source of lipids in the body. The nervous system is enriched with important classes of lipids; sphingolipids and cholesterol which compose the major portion of the brain particularly in the form of myelin. Both cholesterol and sphingolipids are embedded in the microdomains of membrane rafts and are functional units of the neuronal cell membrane. These molecules serve as the signaling molecules; hold important roles in the neuronal differentiation, synaptogenesis, and many others. Thus, their adequate provision and active metabolism are of crucial importance in the maintenance of physiological functions of brain and body of an individual. In the present review, we have highlighted the physiological roles of cholesterol and sphingolipids in the development of the nervous system as well as the association of their altered metabolism to neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.
- Nervous system
- Neurological diseases