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J Lipid Res. 2011 Jul;52(7):1383-91. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M014118. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

PCSK9 reduces the protein levels of the LDL receptor in mouse brain during development and after ischemic stroke.

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Biochemical Neuroendocrinology, Clinical Research Institute of Montréal (IRCM), Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) plays a major role in cholesterol homeostasis through enhanced degradation of the LDL receptor (LDLR) in liver. As novel inhibitors/silencers of PCSK9 are now being tested in clinical trials to treat hypercholesterolemia, it is crucial to define the physiological consequences of the lack of PCSK9 in various organs. LDLR regulation by PCSK9 has not been extensively described during mouse brain development and injury. Herein, we show that PCSK9 and LDLR are co-expressed in mouse brain during development and at adulthood. Although the protein levels of LDLR and apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the adult brain of Pcsk9(-/-) mice are similar to those of wild-type (WT) mice, LDLR levels increased and were accompanied by a reduction of apoE levels during development. This suggests that the upregulation of LDLR protein levels in Pcsk9(-/-) mice enhances apoE degradation. Upon ischemic stroke, PCSK9 was expressed in the dentate gyrus between 24 h and 72 h following brain reperfusion. Although mouse behavior and lesion volume were similar, LDLR protein levels dropped ∼2-fold less in the Pcsk9(-/-)-lesioned hippocampus, without affecting apoE levels and neurogenesis. Thus, PCSK9 downregulates LDLR levels during brain development and following transient ischemic stroke in adult mice.

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