Plasma high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations negatively correlate with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. HDL is thought to have several atheroprotective functions, which are likely distinct from the epidemiological inverse relationship between HDL-C levels and risk. Specifically, strategies that reduce HDL-C while promoting reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) may have therapeutic value. The major product of the serum opacity factor (SOF) reaction versus HDL is a cholesteryl ester (CE)-rich microemulsion (CERM), which contains apo E and the CE of ~400,000 HDL particles. Huh7 hepatocytes take up CE faster when delivered as CERM than as HDL, in part via the LDL-receptor (LDLR). Here we compared the final RCT step, hepatic uptake and subsequent intracellular processing to cholesterol and bile salts for radiolabeled HDL-, CERM- and LDL-CE by Huh7 cells and in vivo in C57BL/6J mice. In Huh7 cells, uptake from LDL was greater than from CERM (2-4X) and HDL (5-10X). Halftimes for [(14)C]CE hydrolysis were 3.0±0.2, 4.4±0.6 and 5.4±0.7h respectively for HDL, CERM and LDL-CE. The fraction of sterols secreted as bile acids was ~50% by 8h for all three particles. HDL, CERM and LDL-CE metabolism in mice showed efficient plasma clearance of CERM-CE, liver uptake and metabolism, and secretion as bile acids into the gall bladder. This work supports the therapeutic potential of the SOF reaction, which diverts HDL-CE to the LDLR, thereby increasing hepatic CE uptake, and sterol disposal as bile acids.
Keywords: Bile acid secretion; Cholesterol ester metabolism; HDL function; Huh7 human hepatocytes; Reverse cholesterol transport; Serum opacity factor.
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