This experiment was designed to test the effect of polymorphism in the cholesterol 7-α hydroxylase (CYP7) gene locus and dietary cholesterol (C) on cerebrum C in neonatal pigs fed sow's milk formulas. Thirty-six pigs (18 male and 18 female) genetically selected for high (HG) or low (LG) plasma total C were weaned at 24-36 h after birth and assigned in a 2x2x2 factorial arrangement of treatments with 2 diets (0 or 0.5% C), 2 sexes, and 2 genotypes (HG and LG). Individually housed pigs consumed diets ad libitum for 42 d. Open-field behavior was tested at wk 2 and 4. All pigs were killed at 42 d of age, the cerebrum was weighed, and C content and concentration measured. All data were analyzed by general linear model ANOVA. Cerebrum weight was greater in HG than LG pigs (P<0.03) but was not affected by diet or sex. Pigs fed C tended to have a higher cerebrum C concentration than those deprived (P = 0.12). At 2 wk, LG pigs explored a novel open-field environment less often (P < 0.001) than did HG pigs. At 4 wk, some LG pigs explored the open field but fewer (P < 0.001) vs. HG pigs retreated back to the safe area. There were no genotype x diet, genotype x sex, or diet x sex interactions affecting cerebrum weight, or C content or concentration. Polymorphism in the CYP7 gene locus affected cerebrum weight and behavior and dietary C tended to increase cerebrum C concentration in neonatal pigs. These findings in neonatal pigs have considerable potential importance in human infant nutrition and behavioral development.