Acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase inhibitor, avasimibe, stimulates bile acid synthesis and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase in cultured rat hepatocytes and in vivo in the rat

SM Post, JP Zoeteweij, MHA Bos, ECM de Wit, R Havinga, F Kuipers, HMG Princen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) inhibitors are currently in clinical development as potential lipid-lowering and antiatherosclerotic agents. We investigated the effect of avasimibe (Cl- 1011), a novel ACAT inhibitor, on bile acid synthesis and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase in cultured rat hepatocytes and rats fed different diets. Avasimibe dose-dependently decreased ACAT activity in rat hepatocytes in the presence and absence of beta-migrating very low-density lipoproteins (beta VLDL) (by 93% and 74% at 10 mu mol/L) and reduced intracellular storage of cholesteryl esters. Avasimibe (3 mu mol/L) increased bile acid synthesis (2.9-fold) after preincubation with beta VLDL and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase activity (1.7- and 2.6-fold, with or without beta VLDL), the latter paralleled by a similar induction of its messenger RNA (mRNA). Hepatocytes treated with avasimibe showed a shift from storage and secretion of cholesteryl esters to conversion of cholesterol into bile acids. In rats fed diets containing different amounts of cholesterol and cholate, avasimibe reduced plasma cholesterol (by 52% to 71%) and triglyceride levels (by 28% to 62%), Avasimibe did not further increase cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase activity and mRNA in cholesterol-fed rats, but prevented down-regulation by cholate, Avasimibe did not affect sterol 27-hydroxylase and oxysterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, 2 enzymes in the alternative pathway in bile acid synthesis. No increase in the ratio of biliary excreted cholesterol to bile acids was found, indicating that ACAT inhibition does not result in a more lithogenic bile, Avasimibe increases bile acid synthesis in cultured hepatocytes by enhancing the supply of free cholesterol both as substrate acid inducer of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase. These effects may partially explain the potent cholesterol-lowering effects of avasimibe in the rat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
JournalHepatology
Volume30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug-1999

Keywords

  • LOW-DENSITY-LIPOPROTEIN
  • AFRICAN-GREEN MONKEYS
  • BOUND TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR
  • LIPID-REGULATING ACTIVITY
  • DIETARY-CHOLESTEROL
  • MESSENGER-RNA
  • STEROL 27-HYDROXYLASE
  • DOWN-REGULATION
  • ACAT INHIBITOR
  • OXYSTEROL 7-ALPHA-HYDROXYLASE

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