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J Lipid Res. 1996 Feb;37(2):223-8.

Endotoxin, TNF, and IL-1 decrease cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase mRNA levels and activity.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94121, USA.


Endotoxin (LPS) and cytokines increase cholesterol synthesis and the secretion of lipoproteins by the liver in rodents resulting in hypercholesterolemia. Cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CAH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids in the liver, the major regulated pathway by which cholesterol is eliminated from the body. Decreases in CAH would increase the quantity of cholesterol available for lipoprotein production. In the present study, we demonstrate that LPS, TNF, or IL-1 administration to Syrian hamsters produces a marked decrease in the levels of CAH mRNA in the liver. This marked decrease occurred even when the basal level of CAH expression was increased by feeding the bile acid sequestrant, colestipol. Additionally, a marked decrease was also observed when the animals were fed a cholesterol-enriched diet. Moreover, the decrease in CAH mRNA occurred very rapidly (decreased 66% by 90 min after LPS administration) and required relatively small doses of LPS (100 ng/100 g body weight). Lastly, the decrease in mRNA levels was accompanied by a decrease in CAH activity. This decrease in CAH could contribute to the increase in hepatic lipoprotein production induced by LPS and cytokines. CAH can be added to the growing list of proteins that regulate lipid metabolism and that are altered during the acute phase response.

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