Dietary linoleic acid increases and palmitic acid decreases hepatic LDL receptor protein and mRNA abundance in young pigs

Vikkie A. Mustad, Jeff L. Ellsworth, Allen D. Cooper, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Terry D. Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The present study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary fatty acids on hepatic LDL receptor (LDLr) protein abundance and mRNA levels. Sixty pigs were randomized into 10 groups and fed corn-soybean meal diets containing three cholesterol levels (0.25%, 0.5%, and 1.0%, w/w) with no added fat, or fats rich (30% of calories) in palmitic acid or linoleic acid. A control group was fed the base diet with no added fat. After 30 days, plasma LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels increased as the dietary cholesterol increased (P<0.05); however, there was no significant effect of either fatty acid. Dietary fatty acids, however, had distinctly different effects on hepatic LDLr protein (analyzed by ELISA) and mRNA (analyzed by Northern blot) abundance. When pigs consumed diets containing 0.25% cholesterol, linoleic acid increased hepatic LDLr protein 40% whereas palmitic acid reduced it 40% (P < 0.05). These changes in LDLr protein abundance were accompanied by parallel changes in hepatic LDLr mRNA; linoleic acid increased LDLr mRNA 2- fold (P < 0.01), whereas palmitic acid decreased it 60% (P < 0.01). The differential effects of fatty acids on LDLr expression were only observed at 0.25% cholesterol, suggesting that higher intakes of cholesterol have a dominant and repressive effect on regulation of LDLr expression. Cholesterol intake increased hepatic total cholesterol levels (P < 0.01) while dietary fatty acids had no effect on hepatic sterols. In summary, our results indicate that dietary linoleic acid and palmitic acid have markedly different effects on hepatic LDLr protein abundance that are mediated by differential effects on LDLr mRNA levels. Further studies are needed to fully elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which fatty acids regulated LDLr mRNA and protein levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2310-2323
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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