Cross-talk between thyroid hormone receptor and liver X receptor regulatory pathways is revealed in a thyroid hormone resistance mouse model

J Biol Chem. 2006 Jan 6;281(1):295-302. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M507877200. Epub 2005 Oct 31.


Hypercholesterolemia is found in patients with hypothyroidism and resistance to thyroid hormone. In this study, we examined cholesterol metabolism in a thyroid hormone receptor beta (TR-beta) mutant mouse model of resistance to thyroid hormone. Whereas studies of cholesterol metabolism have been reported in TR-beta knock-out mice, generalized expression of a non-ligand binding TR-beta protein in this knock-in model more fully recapitulates the hypothyroid state, because the hypothyroid effect of TRs is mediated by the unliganded receptor. In the hypothyroid state, a high cholesterol diet increased serum cholesterol levels in wild-type animals (WT) but either did not change or reduced levels in mutant (MUT) mice relative to hypothyroidism alone. 7alpha-Hydroxylase (CYP7A1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol metabolism and mRNA levels were undetectable in the hypothyroid state in all animals. triiodothyronine replacement restored CYP7A1 mRNA levels in WT mice but had minimal effect in MUT mice. In contrast, a high cholesterol diet markedly induced CYP7A1 levels in MUT but not WT mice in the hypothyroid state. Elevation of CYP7A1 mRNA levels and reduced hepatic cholesterol content in MUT animals are likely because of cross-talk between TR-beta and liver X receptor alpha (LXR-alpha), which both bind to a direct repeat + 4 (DR+4) element in the CYP7A1 promoter. In transfection studies, WT but not MUT TR-beta antagonized induction of this promoter by LXR-alpha. Electromobility shift analysis revealed that LXR/RXR heterodimers bound to the DR+4 element in the presence of MUT but not WT TR-beta. A mechanism for cross-talk, and potential antagonism, between TR-beta and LXR-alpha is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism*
  • Hypothyroidism / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / physiology
  • Receptor Cross-Talk / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors beta / genetics
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors beta / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Nr1h3 protein, mouse
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors beta
  • Cholesterol
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Cyp7a1 protein, mouse