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J Clin Invest. 1984 Dec;74(6):2226-37.

Regulation of biliary cholesterol secretion in the rat. Role of hepatic cholesterol esterification.


Although the significance of the enterohepatic circulation of bile salts in the solubilization and biliary excretion of cholesterol is well established, little is known about the intrahepatic determinants of biliary cholesterol output. Studies were undertaken to elucidate some of these determinants in the rat. Feeding 1% diosgenin for 1 wk increased biliary cholesterol output and saturation by 400%. Bile flow, biliary bile salt, phospholipid and protein outputs remained in the normal range. When ethynyl estradiol (EE) was injected into these animals, biliary cholesterol output decreased to almost normal levels under circumstances of minor changes in the rates of biliary bile salt and phospholipid outputs. Similarly, when chylomicron cholesterol was intravenously injected into diosgenin-fed animals, biliary cholesterol output significantly decreased as a function of the dose of chylomicron cholesterol administered. Relative rates of hepatic cholesterol synthesis and esterification were measured in isolated hepatocytes. Although hepatic cholesterogenesis increased 300% in diosgenin-fed animals, the contribution of newly synthesized cholesterol to total biliary cholesterol output was only 19 +/- 9%, compared with 12 +/- 6% in control and 15 +/- 5% in diosgenin-fed and EE-injected rats. The rate of oleate incorporation into hepatocytic cholesterol esters was 30% inhibited in diosgenin-fed rats. When EE was injected into these animals, the rate of cholesterol esterification increased to almost 300%. To investigate further the interrelationship between hepatic cholesterol esterification and biliary cholesterol output, we studied 21 diosgenin-fed rats. Six of them received in addition EE and 10 received chylomicron cholesterol. The relationships between biliary cholesterol output as a function of both microsomal acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activity and hepatic cholesterol ester concentration were significantly correlated in a reciprocal manner. From these results it is concluded that the size of the biliary cholesterol precursor pool can be rapidly modified through changes in the activity of the hepatic ACAT.

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