Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase deficiency protects against cholesterol-induced hepatic endoplasmic reticulum stress in mice

Lauren Hager, Lixin Li, Henry Pun, Lu Liu, Mohammad A. Hossain, Graham F. Maguire, Mark Naples, Chris Baker, Lilia Magomedova, Jonathan Tam, Khosrow Adeli, Carolyn L. Cummins, Philip W. Connelly, Dominic S. Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We recently reported that lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) knock-out mice, particularly in the LDL receptor knock-out background, are hypersensitive to insulin and resistant to high fat diet-induced insulin resistance (IR) and obesity. We demonstrated that chow-fed Ldlr-/-xLcat+/+ mice have elevated hepatic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which promotes IR, compared with wild-type controls, and this effect is normalized in Ldlr-/-xLcat-/- mice. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that hepatic ER cholesterol metabolism differentially regulates ER stress using these models. We observed that the Ldlr-/-xLcat+/+ mice accumulate excess hepatic total and ER cholesterol primarily attributed to increased reuptake of biliary cholesterol as we observed reduced biliary cholesterol in conjunction with decreased hepatic Abcg5/g8 mRNA, increased Npc1l1 mRNA, and decreased Hmgr mRNAand nuclear SREBP2 protein. Intestinal NPC1L1 protein was induced. Expression of these genes was reversed in the Ldlr-/-xLcat-/- mice, accounting for the normalization of total and ER cholesterol and ER stress. Upon feeding a 2% high cholesterol diet (HCD), Ldlr-/-xLcat-/- mice accumulated a similar amount of total hepatic cholesterol compared with the Ldlr-/-xLcat+/+ mice, but the hepatic ER cholesterol levels remained low in conjunction with being protected from HCD-induced ER stress and IR. Hepatic ER stress correlates strongly with hepatic ER free cholesterol but poorly with hepatic tissue free cholesterol. The unexpectedly low ER cholesterol seen in HCD-fed Ldlr-/-xLcat-/- mice was attributable to a coordinated marked up-regulation of ACAT2 and suppressed SREBP2 processing. Thus, factors influencing the accumulation of ER cholesterol may be important for the development of hepatic insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20755-20768
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 8 2012
Externally publishedYes


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