Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is the molecular target for a wide variety of endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. It regulates the expression of genes central to the detoxification (cytochrome P-450 enzymes) and excretion (xenobiotic transporters) of potentially harmful compounds. The aim of the present investigation was to determine the role of PXR in regulation of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol metabolism by studying its impact on ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) and scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) expression in hepatocytes. ABCA1 and SR-BI are major factors in the exchange of cholesterol between cells and HDL. Expression analyses were performed using Western blotting and quantitative real time RT-PCR. Luciferase reporter gene assays were used to measure promoter activities. Total cholesterol was measured enzymatically after lipid extraction (Folch's method). The expression of ABCA1 and SR-BI was inhibited by the PXR activators rifampicin and lithocholic acid (LCA) in HepG2 cells and pregnenolone 16alpha-carbonitrile (PCN) in primary rat hepatocytes. Thus, PXR appears to be a regulator of hepatic cholesterol transport by inhibiting genes central to cholesterol uptake (SR-BI) and efflux (ABCA1).