Resveratrol downregulates PCSK9 expression and attenuates steatosis through estrogen receptor α-mediated pathway in L02 cells

Eur J Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 15;855:216-226. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2019.05.019. Epub 2019 May 11.


Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a promising target for treating dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis. Circulating PCSK9 levels are closely related to hepatic steatosis severity and endogenous estrogen levels. Resveratrol (RSV) is a phytoestrogens that protects against atherosclerosis and hepatic steatosis. Thus, we sought to determine whether RSV had the activities to inhibit PCSK9 expression and to attenuate lipid accumulation in free fatty acid (FFA)-induced L02 cells via ERα pathway. In this study, RSV (10, 20 μM) were cultured with L02 cells in the presence of FFA (oleate:palmitate = 2:1). RSV significantly reduced the number of lipid droplets and intracellular TG in steatotic L02 cells, and Oil red O staining and Nile red staining had the same results. Western blot analysis showed that RSV significantly reduced apoB secretion and intracellular microsomal triglyceride transporter (MTP) expression under lipid-rich conditions. Treatment with RSV reduced expression of PCSK9 while maintaining LDL receptor (LDLR) expression and LDL uptake. RSV decreased SREBP-1c expression at both mRNA and protein levels. In addition, RSV significantly reduced the expression of liver X receptor α (LXRα) mRNA in L02 cells, but did not affect the expression of liver X receptor β (LXRβ) mRNA. The luciferase reporter assays suggested that RSV inhibited SREBP-mediated transcription of PCSK9. Finally, these results could be partly reversed by Estrogen receptor α (ERα) gene silencing. These results suggest that RSV attenuates steatosis and PCSK9 expression through down-regulation of SREBP-1c expression, at least in part through ERα-mediated pathway.

Keywords: Estrogen receptor α; Free fatty acid; PCSK9; Resveratrol; Steatosis.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / pharmacology
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Space / drug effects
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / genetics
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, LDL / genetics
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism
  • Resveratrol / pharmacology*
  • Resveratrol / therapeutic use
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Triglycerides
  • Proprotein Convertase 9
  • Resveratrol