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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1791(7):679-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 Jan 19.

Niemann-Pick C1 Like 1 (NPC1L1) an intestinal sterol transporter.

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Department of Cardiovascular/Metabolic Disease, Schering-Plough Research Institute, 2015 Galloping Hill Road, Kenilworth, NJ 07033, USA.


Niemann-Pick C1 Like 1 (NPC1L1) has been identified and characterized as an essential protein in the intestinal cholesterol absorption process. NPC1L1 localizes to the brush border membrane of absorptive enterocytes in the small intestine. Intestinal expression of NPC1L1 is down regulated by diets containing high levels of cholesterol. While otherwise phenotypically normal, Npc1l1 null mice exhibit a significant reduction in the intestinal uptake and absorption of cholesterol and phytosterols. Characterization of the NPC1L1 pathway revealed that cholesterol absorption inhibitor ezetimibe specifically binds to an extracellular loop of NPC1L1 and inhibits its sterol transport function. Npc1l1 null mice are resistant to diet-induced hypercholesterolemia, and when crossed with apo E null mice, are completely resistant to the development of atherosclerosis. Intestinal gene expression studies in Npc1l1 null mice indicated that no exogenous cholesterol was entering enterocytes lacking NPC1L1, which resulted in an upregulation of intestinal and hepatic LDL receptor and cholesterol biosynthetic gene expression. Polymorphisms in the human NPC1L1 gene have been found to influence cholesterol absorption and plasma low density lipoprotein levels. Therefore, NPC1L1 is a critical intestinal sterol uptake transporter which influences whole body cholesterol homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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