Endogenous cholesterol ester hydroperoxides modulate cholesterol levels and inhibit cholesterol uptake in hepatocytes and macrophages

Redox Biol. 2019 Feb:21:101069. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.101069. Epub 2018 Dec 12.


Dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism represents one of the major risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). Oxidized cholesterol esters (oxCE) in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) have been implicated in CVD but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly defined. We use a targeted lipidomic approach to demonstrate that levels of oxCEs in human plasma are associated with different types of CVD and significantly elevated in patients with myocardial infarction. We synthesized a major endogenous cholesterol ester hydroperoxide (CEOOH), cholesteryl-13(cis, trans)-hydroperoxy-octadecadienoate (ch-13(c,t)-HpODE) and show that this endogenous compound significantly increases plasma cholesterol level in mice while decrease cholesterol levels in mouse liver and peritoneal macrophages, which is primarily due to the inhibition of cholesterol uptake in macrophages and liver. Further studies indicate that inhibition of cholesterol uptake by ch-13(c,t)-HpODE in macrophages is dependent on LXRα-IDOL-LDLR pathway, whereas inhibition on cholesterol levels in hepatocytes is dependent on LXRα and LDLR. Consistently, these effects on cholesterol levels by ch-13(c,t)-HpODE are diminished in LDLR or LXRα knockout mice. Together, our study provides evidence that elevated plasma cholesterol levels by CEOOHs are primarily due to the inhibition of cholesterol uptake in the liver and macrophages, which may play an important role in the pathogenesis of CVD.

Keywords: CVD; Cholesterol ester hydroperoxides; Cholesterol uptake; Cholesterol/metabolism; LDL oxidation; LDLR; LXR; Lipid peroxidation; Lipidomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol Esters / genetics
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver X Receptors / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolome
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Receptors, LDL
  • cholesteryl ester hydroperoxide
  • Cholesterol