Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, in addition to neuroinflammation and changes in brain lipid metabolism. 25-Hydroxycholesterol (25-HC), a known modulator of both inflammation and lipid metabolism, is produced by cholesterol 25-hydroxylase encoded by Ch25h expressed as a “disease-associated microglia” signature gene. However, whether Ch25h influences tau-mediated neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration is unknown. Here, we show that in the absence of Ch25h and the resultant reduction in 25-HC, there is strikingly reduced age-dependent neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in the hippocampus and entorhinal/piriform cortex of PS19 mice, which express the P301S mutant human tau transgene. Transcriptomic analyses of bulk hippocampal tissue and single nuclei revealed that Ch25h deficiency in PS19 mice strongly suppressed proinflammatory signaling in microglia. Our results suggest a key role for Ch25h/25-HC in potentiating proinflammatory signaling to promote tau-mediated neurodegeneration. Ch25h may represent a novel therapeutic target for primary tauopathies, AD, and other neuroinflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20232000
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • Neuroinflammation


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