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Mol Endocrinol. 2003 Mar;17(3):386-94. Epub 2002 Dec 12.

Differential regulation of rat and human CYP7A1 by the nuclear oxysterol receptor liver X receptor-alpha.

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Nuclear Receptor Discovery Research, GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


In rodent liver, transcription of the gene encoding cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the classic bile acid synthetic pathway, is stimulated by the liver X receptor alpha (LXRalpha), a nuclear receptor for oxysterol metabolites of cholesterol. This feed-forward regulatory loop provides a mechanism for the elimination of excess cholesterol from the body. In this report, we demonstrate that in primary cultures of human hepatocytes, activation of LXRalpha has the opposite effect, repressing CYP7A1 expression. This repression is mediated, at least in part, through induction of the orphan nuclear receptor, short heterodimer partner (SHP), which is also induced by bile acids. We demonstrate that SHP is regulated directly by LXRalpha through a DNA response element that overlaps with the previously characterized bile acid response element. Our data reveal a fundamental difference in the regulation of CYP7A1 in rodent and human hepatocytes and provide evidence that different species employ distinct molecular strategies to regulate cholesterol homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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