Polyunsaturated fatty acids up-regulate hepatic scavenger receptor B1 (SR-BI) expression and HDL cholesteryl ester uptake in the hamster

David K. Spady, Denise M. Kearney, Helen H. Hobbs

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Diets rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids lower plasma HDL cholesterol concentrations when compared to diets rich in saturated fatty acids. We investigated the mechanistic basis for this effect in the hamster and sought to determine whether reduced plasma HDL cholesterol concentrations resulting from a high polyunsaturated fat diet are associated with a decrease in reverse cholesterol transport. Animals were fed semisynthetic diets enriched with polyunsaturated or saturated fatty acids for 6 weeks. We then determined the effect of these diets on the following parameters: 1) hepatic scavenger receptor B1 (SR-BI) mRNA and protein levels, 2) the rate of hepatic HDL cholesteryl ester uptake, and 3) the rate of cholesterol acquisition by the extrahepatic tissues (from de novo synthesis, LDL and HDL) as a measure of the rate of reverse cholesterol transport. Compared to saturated fatty acids, dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids up-regulated hepatic SR-BI expression by ~50% and increased HDL cholesteryl ester transport to the liver; as a consequence, plasma HDL cholesteryl ester concentrations were reduced. Although dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids increased hepatic HDL cholesteryl ester uptake and lowered plasma HDL cholesterol concentrations, there was no change in the cholesterol content or in the rate of cholesterol acquisition (via de novo synthesis and lipoprotein uptake) by the extrahepatic tissues. These studies indicate that substitution of polyunsaturated for saturated fatty acids in the diet increases SR-BI expression and lowers plasma HDL cholesteryl ester concentrations but does not affect reverse cholesterol transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1384-1394
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999



  • Cholesterol
  • Cholesteryl esters
  • HDL
  • Lipoproteins
  • Liver
  • Reverse cholesterol transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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