Fucosterol, a sterol that is abundant in marine algae, has hypocholesterolemic activity, but the mechanism underlying its effect is not clearly understood. Because data suggest that fucosterol can increase plasma high-density lipoprotein concentrations, we investigated whether it could activate liver X receptors (LXRs), critical transcription factors in reverse cholesterol transport. Fucosterol dose-dependently stimulated the transcriptional activity of both LXR-α and -β in a reporter gene assay, responses that were attenuated by the LXR antagonist As2O 3. Fucosterol also activated co-activator recruitment in cell-free time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis. In THP-1-derived macrophages, it induced the transcriptional activation of ABCA1, ABCG1, and ApoE, key genes in reverse cholesterol transport, and thereby significantly increased the efflux of cholesterol. Fucosterol also regulated intestinal NPC1L1 and ABCA1 in Caco-2 cells. Notably, fucosterol did not induce cellular triglyceride accumulation in HepG2 cells, primarily because of its upregulation of Insig-2a, which delays nuclear translocation of SREBP-1c, a key hepatic lipogenic transcription factor. These results suggest that fucosterol is a dual-LXR agonist that regulates the expression of key genes in cholesterol homeostasis in multiple cell lines without inducing hepatic triglyceride accumulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)