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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 13;277(37):33870-7. Epub 2002 Jul 8.

Increased hepatobiliary and fecal cholesterol excretion upon activation of the liver X receptor is independent of ABCA1.

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Center for Liver, Digestive, and Metabolic Diseases, Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.


The ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA1 is essential for high density lipoprotein (HDL) formation and considered rate-controlling for reverse cholesterol transport. Expression of the Abca1 gene is under control of the liver X receptor (LXR). We have evaluated effects of LXR activation by the synthetic agonist T0901317 on hepatic and intestinal cholesterol metabolism in C57BL/6J and DBA/1 wild-type mice and in ABCA1-deficient DBA/1 mice. In wild-type mice, T0901317 increased expression of Abca1 in liver and intestine, which was associated with an approximately 60% rise in HDL. Biliary cholesterol excretion rose 2.7-fold upon treatment, and fecal neutral sterol output was increased by 150-300%. Plasma cholesterol levels also increased in treated Abca1(-/-) mice (+120%), but exclusively in very low density lipoprotein-sized fractions. Despite the absence of HDL, hepatobiliary cholesterol output was stimulated upon LXR activation in Abca1(-/-) mice, leading to a 250% increase in the biliary cholesterol/phospholipid ratio. Most importantly, fecal neutral sterol loss was induced to a similar extent (+300%) by the LXR agonist in DBA/1 wild-type and Abca1(-/-) mice. Expression of Abcg5 and Abcg8, recently implicated in biliary excretion of cholesterol and its intestinal absorption, was induced in T0901317-treated mice. Thus, activation of LXR in mice leads to enhanced hepatobiliary cholesterol secretion and fecal neutral sterol loss independent of (ABCA1-mediated) elevation of HDL and the presence of ABCA1 in liver and intestine.

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