Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids upregulate LDL receptor protein expression in fibroblasts and HepG2 cells

Shaomei Yu-Poth, Dezhong Yin, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Guixiang Zhao, Terry D. Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of individual PUFAs on LDL receptor (LDLr) expression in human fibroblasts and HepG2 cells, and to evaluate whether acyl CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) were involved in the regulation of LDLr expression by fatty acids. When fibroblasts and HepG2 cells were cultured with serum-free defined medium for 48 h, there was a 3- to 5-fold (P < 0.05) increase in LDLr protein and mRNA levels. Incubation of fibroblasts and HepG2 cells in serum-free medium supplemented with 25-hydroxycholesterol (25OH-cholesterol, 5 mg/L) for 24 h decreased LDLr protein and mRNA levels by 50-90% (P < 0.05). Arachidonic acid [AA, 20:4(n-6)], EPA [20:5(n-3)], and DHA [22:6(n-3)] antagonized the depression of LDLr gene expression by 25OH-cholesterol and increased LDLr protein abundance 1- to 3-fold (P < 0.05), but had no significant effects on LDLr mRNA levels. Oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and α-linolenic acids [18:3(n-3)] did not significantly affect LDLr expression. ACAT inhibitor (58-035, 1 mg/L) attenuated the regulatory effect of AA on LDLr protein abundance by ∼40% (P < 0.05), but did not modify the regulatory effects of other unsaturated fatty acids in HepG2 cells. The present results suggest that AA, EPA, and DHA increase LDLr protein levels, and that ACAT plays a role in modulating the effects of AA on LDLr protein levels. Furthermore, the effects of the fatty acids appeared to be independent of any change in SREBP-1 protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2541-2545
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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