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Xenobiotica. 2008 Jul;38(7-8):1119-39. doi: 10.1080/00498250802007930 .

Cholesterol and non-cholesterol sterol transporters: ABCG5, ABCG8 and NPC1L1: a review.

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Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


1. Whole-body sterol (cholesterol and xenosterol) balance is delicately regulated by the gastrointestinal tract and liver, which control sterol absorption and excretion, respectively, in addition to the contribution to the cholesterol pool by whole-body cholesterol synthesis. In the past ten years enormous strides have been made not only in establishing that specific transporters mediate the entry and exit of sterols and how these may regulate selective sterol access to the body pools, but also in how these pathways operate to integrate these physiological pathways. 2. The entry of sterols from the gastrointestinal and biliary canalicular lumen into the body is mediated by NPC1L1, which was discovered by a novel method, via a genomics-bioinformatics approach. 3. Identification of the genetic basis responsible for causing sitosterolaemia, characterized by plant sterol accumulation, led to the identification of two half-transporters (ABCG5 and ABCG8) that normally efflux plant sterols (and cholesterol) into the intestinal and biliary lumen for faecal excretion. 4. The objective of this review is to provide up-to-date knowledge on genomics, proteomics and function of these two transporter systems.

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