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J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 17;287(34):28564-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.360081. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

The ABCG5 ABCG8 sterol transporter opposes the development of fatty liver disease and loss of glycemic control independently of phytosterol accumulation.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.


ABCG5 and ABCG8 form a complex (G5G8) that opposes the absorption of plant sterols but is also expressed in liver where it promotes the excretion of cholesterol into bile. Hepatic G5G8 is transcriptionally regulated by a number of factors implicated in the development of insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Therefore, we hypothesized that G5G8 may influence the development of diet-induced obesity phenotypes independently of its role in opposing phytosterol absorption. G5G8 knock-out (KO) mice and their wild type (WT) littermates were challenged with a plant sterol-free low fat or high fat (HF) diet. Weight gain and the rise in fasting glucose were accelerated in G5G8 KO mice following HF feeding. HF-fed G5G8 KO mice had increased liver weight, hepatic lipids, and plasma alanine aminotransferase compared with WT controls. Consistent with the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, macrophage infiltration, the number of TUNEL-positive cells, and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines were also increased in G5G8 KO mice. Hepatic lipid accumulation was associated with increased peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ, CD36, and fatty acid uptake. Phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eiF2α) and expression of activating transcription factor 4 and tribbles 3 were elevated in HF-fed G5G8 KO mice, a pathway that links the unfolded protein response to the development of insulin resistance through inhibition of protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of Akt and insulin receptor was reduced, whereas serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 was elevated.

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