Background: Liver-selective thyromimetics have been reported to efficiently reduce plasma cholesterol through the hepatic induction of both, the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) receptor; the scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI). Here, we investigated the effect of the thyromimetic T-0681 on reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) and atherosclerosis, and studied the underlying mechanisms using different mouse models, including mice lacking LDLr, SR-BI, and apoE, as well as CETP transgenic mice.
Methodology/Principal Findings: T-0681 treatment promoted bile acid production and biliary sterol secretion consistently in the majority of the studied mouse models, which was associated with a marked reduction of plasma cholesterol. Using an assay of macrophage RCT in mice, we found T-0681 to significantly increase fecal excretion of macrophage-derived neutral and acidic sterols. No positive effect on RCT was found in CETP transgenic mice, most likely due to the observed decrease in plasma CETP mass. Studies in SR-BI KO and LDLr KO mice suggested hepatic LDLr to be necessary for the action of T-0681 on lipid metabolism, as the compound did not have any influence on plasma cholesterol levels in mice lacking this receptor. Finally, prolonged treatment with T-0681 reduced the development of atherosclerosis by 60% in apoE KOs on Western type diet. In contrast, at an earlier time-point T-0681 slightly increased small fatty streak lesions, in part due to an impaired macrophage cholesterol efflux capacity, when compared to controls.
Conclusions/Significance: The present results show that liver-selective thyromimetics can promote RCT and that such compounds may protect from atherosclerosis partly through induction of bile acid metabolism and biliary sterol secretion. On-going clinical trials will show whether selective thyromimetics do prevent atherosclerosis also in humans.
- ESTER TRANSFER PROTEIN
- RECEPTOR CLASS-B
- DENSITY-LIPOPROTEIN RECEPTOR
- LESION DEVELOPMENT
- LDL CHOLESTEROL