Extra-virgin olive oil consumption improves the capacity of HDL to mediate cholesterol efflux and increases ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression in human macrophages

Br J Nutr. 2013 May 28;109(10):1844-55. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512003856. Epub 2012 Oct 10.


The present study was aimed to investigate the effect of 12 weeks of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) consumption on the capacity of HDL to promote cholesterol efflux (CE) and to determine which CE pathways are modulated by EVOO consumption. Whole HDL and HDL₂/HDL₃ subclasses were isolated from the plasma of twenty-six healthy volunteers before and after 12 weeks of EVOO consumption (25 ml/d). EVOO consumption increased the capacity of serum and HDL to mediate CE from THP-1, J774 macrophages and Fu5AH cells by 9·8-24·57 %, depending on the cell type. The increase in CE was independent of both HDL concentration and subclass distribution. The three HDL-mediated CE pathways (ATP-binding cassette (ABC) A1, ABCG1 and scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI)) were modulated by EVOO consumption. The fluidity of the phospholipidic layer of HDL increased by 13 % (P< 0·001) following EVOO consumption compared with baseline. EVOO consumption also increased the release of excess cholesterol from human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) by 44 % (P< 0·001), and ABCA1 and ABCG1 mRNA transcription by 16·08 % (P< 0·001) and 35·79 % (P< 0·01), respectively. The protein expression of these two cholesterol transporters also increased after EVOO consumption. In contrast, SR-BI mRNA and protein expression in HMDM were significantly lower after 12 weeks of EVOO consumption. Incubating J774 macrophages with EVOO polyphenol extracts induced a concentration-dependent up-regulation of ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression in macrophages. After 12 weeks of EVOO consumption, the capacity of HDL to mediate CE was improved and the ability of HMDM to release excess cholesterol was enhanced by increasing the expression of ABCA1 and ABCG1 transporters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter 1
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Olive Oil
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B / metabolism


  • ABCA1 protein, human
  • ABCG1 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter 1
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Dietary Fats
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Olive Oil
  • Phospholipids
  • Plant Oils
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SCARB1 protein, human
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B
  • Cholesterol