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Cholesterol and Mental Disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Paul F. Boston*
Department of Psychiatry, University of Leicester
Serdar M. Dursun
Department of Psychiatry, University of Leicester
Michael A. Reveley
Department of Psychiatry, University of Leicester
Dr Paul F. Boston, Department of Psychiatry, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester LE2 7LX



Cholesterol plays an important part in cellular structure and function and changes in serum levels may affect neurotransmission in the central nervous system.


A medline literature search was made covering the period 1990–95 with systematic searching of citations from the articles identified. Representative articles were selected, focusing on those aspects which had not been thoroughly reviewed elsewhere, namely suicidal ideation, depression, personality and schizophrenia.


Lowering cholesterol levels have been associated with an increase in violent deaths in cardiovascular primary prevention studies. However, altered cholesterol levels have also been reported in relation to other psychiatric disorders.


There is substantial evidence that serum cholesterol levels may be associated with variations in mental state or personality. Further work is needed to clarify this and to elucidate the mechanisms involved.

Review Article
Copyright © 1996 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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