Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Atherosclerosis. 2012 Oct;224(2):401-10. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.08.012. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

Delineation of molecular pathways that regulate hepatic PCSK9 and LDL receptor expression during fasting in normolipidemic hamsters.

Author information

  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.



PCSK9 has emerged as a key regulator of serum LDL-C metabolism by promoting the degradation of hepatic LDL receptor (LDLR). In this study, we investigated the effect of fasting on serum PCSK9, LDL-C, and hepatic LDLR expression in hamsters and further delineated the molecular pathways involved in fasting-induced repression of PCSK9 transcription.


Fasting had insignificant effects on serum total cholesterol and HDL-C levels, but reduced LDL-C, triglyceride and insulin levels. The decrease in serum LDL-C was accompanied by marked reductions of hepatic PCSK9 mRNA and serum PCSK9 protein levels with concomitant increases of hepatic LDLR protein amounts. Fasting produced a profound impact on SREBP1 expression and its transactivating activity, while having modest effects on mRNA expressions of SREBP2 target genes in hamster liver. Although PPARα mRNA levels in hamster liver were elevated by fasting, ligand-induced activation of PPARα with WY14643 compound in hamster primary hepatocytes did not affect PCSK9 mRNA or protein expressions. Further investigation on HNF1α, a critical transactivator of PCSK9, revealed that fasting did not alter its mRNA expression, however, the protein abundance of HNF1α in nuclear extracts of hamster liver was markedly reduced by prolonged fasting.


Fasting lowered serum LDL-C in hamsters by increasing hepatic LDLR protein amounts via reductions of serum PCSK9 levels. Importantly, our results suggest that attenuation of SREBP1 transactivating activity owing to decreased insulin levels during fasting is primarily responsible for compromised PCSK9 gene transcription, which was further suppressed after prolonged fasting by a reduction of nuclear HNF1α protein abundance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center