Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Oxysterols are known to inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis and have been explored as potential antihypercholesterolemic agents. The ability of 3β-hydroxy-5α-cholest-8(14)-en-15-one (15-ketosterol) to lower non-HDL cholesterol has been demonstrated in rodent and primate models, but the mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. Here we show in a coactivator recruitment assay and cotransfection assays that the 15-ketosterol is a partial agonist for liver X receptor-α and -β (LXRα and LXRβ). The binding affinity for the LXRs was comparable to those of native oxysterols. In a macrophage cell line of human origin, the 15-ketosterol elevated ATP binding cassette transporter ABCA1 mRNA in a concentration-dependent fashion with a potency similar to those of other oxysterols. We further found that in human embryonic kidney HEK 293 cells, the 15-ketosterol suppressed sterolresponsive element binding protein processing activity and thus inhibited mRNA expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, LDL receptor, and PCSK9. Our data thus provide a molecular basis for the hypocholesterolemic activity of the 15-ketosterol and further suggest its potential antiatherosclerotic benefit as an LXR agonist.
- Scintillation proximity assay
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