Oxysterol sulfation by cytosolic sulfotransferase suppresses liver X receptor/sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c signaling pathway and reduces serum and hepatic lipids in mouse models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Metabolism. 2012 Jun;61(6):836-45. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.11.014. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Cytosolic sulfotransferase (SULT2B1b) catalyzes oxysterol sulfation. 5-Cholesten-3β-25-diol-3-sulfate (25HC3S), one product of this reaction, decreases intracellular lipids in vitro by suppressing liver X receptor/sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1c signaling, with regulatory properties opposite to those of its precursor 25-hydroxycholesterol. Upregulation of SULT2B1b may be an effective strategy to treat hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis. The objective of the study was to explore the effect and mechanism of oxysterol sulfation by SULT2B1b on lipid metabolism in vivo. C57BL/6 and LDLR(-/-) mice were fed with high-cholesterol diet or high-fat diet for 10 weeks and infected with adenovirus encoding SULT2B1b. SULT2B1b expressions in different tissues were determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. Sulfated oxysterols in liver were analyzed by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Serum and hepatic lipid levels were determined by kit reagents and hematoxylin and eosin staining. Gene expressions were determined by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western Blot. Following infection, SULT2B1b was successfully overexpressed in the liver, aorta, and lung tissues, but not in the heart or kidney. SULT2B1b overexpression, combined with administration of 25-hydroxycholesterol, significantly increased the formation of 25HC3S in liver tissue and significantly decreased serum and hepatic lipid levels, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, free cholesterol, and free fatty acids, as compared with controls in both C57BL/6 and LDLR(-/-) mice. Gene expression analysis showed that increases in SULT2B1b expression were accompanied by reduction in key regulators and enzymes involved in lipid metabolism, including liver X receptor α, SREBP-1, SREBP-2, acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1, and fatty acid synthase. These findings support the hypothesis that 25HC3S is an important endogenous regulator of lipid biosynthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Hydroxycholesterols / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors / genetics
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*


  • 25-hydroxycholesterol 3-sulfate
  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Hydroxycholesterols
  • Lipids
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Nr1h3 protein, mouse
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • SULT2B1b protein, mouse
  • Sulfotransferases