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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 11;6:20646. doi: 10.1038/srep20646.

Scavenger receptor B1, the HDL receptor, is expressed abundantly in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.
Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States.
Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity,The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.


Cholesterol from peripheral tissue, carried by HDL, is metabolized in the liver after uptake by the HDL receptor, SR-B1. Hepatocytes have long been considered the only liver cells expressing SR-B1; however, in this study we describe two disparate immunofluorescence (IF) experiments that suggest otherwise. Using high-resolution confocal microscopy employing ultrathin (120 nm) sections of mouse liver, improving z-axis resolution, we identified the liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSEC), marked by FcγRIIb, as the cell within the liver expressing abundant SR-B1. In contrast, the hepatocyte, identified with β-catenin, expressed considerably weaker levels, although optical resolution of SR-B1 was inadequate. Thus, we moved to a different IF strategy, first separating dissociated liver cells by gradient centrifugation into two portions, hepatocytes (parenchymal cells) and LSEC (non-parenchymal cells). Characterizing both portions for the cellular expression of SR-B1 by flow cytometry, we found that LSEC expressed considerable amounts of SR-B1 while in hepatocytes SR-B1 expression was barely perceptible. Assessing mRNA of SR-B1 by real time PCR we found messenger expression in LSEC to be about 5 times higher than in hepatocytes.

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