Dietary cholesterol and the activity of stearoyl CoA desaturase in rats: evidence for an indirect regulatory effect

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Apr 21;1345(3):349-57. doi: 10.1016/s0005-2760(97)00010-6.


The effect of cholesterol on stearoyl CoA desaturase (SCD) was investigated. Previous work had shown that the addition of cholesterol to the diet of rats produced higher liver SCD activity compared to non-cholesterol-fed controls. We have confirmed this result and investigated the mechanism responsible for this cholesterol-induced higher SCD activity. Rats were fed either a 10% corn oil (CO) or a 10% corn oil/1% cholesterol (CO/CH) diet for 1, 3, or 7 days. SCD mRNA abundance was 3.3, 1.9, and 2.4 times greater in livers from CO/CH-fed animals after 1, 3, and 7 days, respectively. Northern hybridization of RNA from kidney, intestinal mucosa, heart, adipose, and liver demonstrated that cholesterol feeding specifically altered liver SCD mRNA. Liver esterified cholesterol content increased 27-fold with cholesterol feeding. This esterified cholesterol increase was accompanied by a proportionately greater increase in oleic acid compared to other fatty acids. These studies indicate that cholesterol does influence the expression of SCD specifically in the liver and suggest that the product, oleic acid, is preferentially esterified to cholesterol in the liver. Preliminary liver nuclear run-on assays from rats fed CO or CO/CH diets for 1 and 3 days indicate that transcription regulation is not a factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Oleic Acid / analysis
  • Phospholipids / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / genetics
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Oleic Acid
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase