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J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 11;278(15):13356-66. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

ABCA1 is essential for efficient basolateral cholesterol efflux during the absorption of dietary cholesterol in chickens.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) participates in the efflux of cholesterol from cells. It remains unclear whether ABCA1 functions to efflux cholesterol across the basolateral or apical membrane of the intestine. We used a chicken model of ABCA1 dysfunction, the Wisconsin hypoalpha mutant (WHAM) chicken, to address this issue. After an oral gavage of radioactive cholesterol, the percentage appearing in the bloodstream was reduced by 79% in the WHAM chicken along with a 97% reduction in the amount of tracer in high density lipoprotein. In contrast, the percentage of radioactive cholesterol absorbed from the lumen into the intestine was not affected by the ABCA1 mutation. Liver X receptor (LXR) agonists have been inferred to decrease cholesterol absorption through activation of ABCA1 expression. However, the LXR agonist T0901317 decreased cholesterol absorption equally in both wild type and WHAM chickens, indicating that the effect of LXR activation on cholesterol absorption is independent of ABCA1. The ABCA1 mutation resulted in accumulation of radioactive cholesterol ester in the intestine and the liver of the WHAM chicken (5.0- and 4.4-fold, respectively), whereas biliary lipid concentrations were unaltered by the WHAM mutation. In summary, ABCA1 regulates the efflux of cholesterol from the basolateral but not apical membrane in the intestine and the liver.

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