Effect of probucol in lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase - Deficient mice: Inhibition of 2 independent cellular cholesterol - Releasing pathways in vivo

Shigehiro Tomimoto, Maki Tsujita, Mitsuyo Okazaki, Shinichi Usui, Toyohiro Tada, Tatsuya Fukutomi, Shigenori Ito, Makoto Itoh, Shinji Yokoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular cholesterol release takes place by at least 2 distinct mechanisms: the lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT)-driven net efflux by cholesterol diffusion and the generation of high density lipoprotein (HDL) with cellular cholesterol and phospholipid on the cell-apolipoprotein interaction. Therefore, LCAT deficiency impairs the former pathway, and the latter can be inhibited by probucol, which interferes with the apolipoprotein-cell interaction. Hence, probucol was given to the LCAT-deficient mice in the attempt to suppress both of these pathways. The mice were fed low (0.2%) and high (1.2%) cholesterol diets containing 0.5% probucol for 2 weeks. LCAT deficiency and probucol markedly decreased plasma HDL, and the effects were synergistic. Tissue cholesterol content was lower in the adrenal glands and ovaries in the LCAT-deficient mice and in the probucol-treated mice, suggesting that HDL is a main cholesterol provider for these organs. It was also moderately decreased in the spleen of the low cholesterol-fed female mice and in the thyroid gland of the low cholesterol-fed male mice. On the other hand, the esterified cholesterol content in the liver was substantially increased by the probucol treatment with a high cholesterol diet in the LCAT-deficient mice but not in the wild-type mice. Among the groups, there was no significant difference in the tissue cholesterol levels in other organs, such as the liver, spleen, thymus, brain, erythrocytes, thyroid gland, testis, and aorta, resulting from either LCAT deficiency or probucol. Thus, the apolipoprotein-mediated mechanism plays a significant role in the export of cellular cholesterol in the liver, indicating that the liver is a major site of the HDL assembly. Otherwise, tissue cholesterol homeostasis can largely be maintained in mice even when the assembly of new HDL is inhibited by probucol in the absence of LCAT. Nonspecific diffusion of cholesterol perhaps adequately maintains the homeostasis in the experimental condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-400
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Cholesterol homeostasis
  • High density lipoproteins
  • Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase
  • Probucol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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