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Journal of Lipid Research

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 50  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1039 - 1046

Scavenger receptor class B type I-mediated uptake of serum cholesterol is essential for optimal adrenal glucocorticoid production

M Hoekstra, D Ye, R. B Hildebrand, Y Zhao, B Lammers, M Stitzinger, J Kuiper, T. J. C Van Berkel and M. Van Eck


Impaired scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI)-mediated uptake of HDL-cholesterol esters (HDL-CE) induces adrenal insufficiency in mice. Humans contain an alternative route of HDL-CE clearance, namely through the transfer by cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) to apolipoprotein B lipoproteins for subsequent uptake via the LDL receptor. In this study, we determined whether CETP can compensate for loss of adrenal SR-BI. Transgenic expression of human CETP (CETP Tg) in SR-BI knockout (KO) mice increased adrenal HDL-CE clearance from 33–58% of the control value. SR-BI KO/CETP Tg and SR-BI KO mice displayed adrenal hypertrophy due to equally high plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone levels. Adrenal cholesterol levels and plasma corticosterone levels were 38–52% decreased in SR-BI KO mice with and without CETP expression. SR-BI KO/CETP Tg mice also failed to increase their corticosterone level after lipopolysaccharide challenge, leading to an identical >4-fold increased tumor necrosis factor- response compared with controls. These data indicate that uptake of CE via other routes than SR-BI is not sufficient to generate the cholesterol pool needed for optimal adrenal steroidogenesis. In conclusion, we have shown that CETP-mediated transfer of HDL-CE is not able to reverse adrenal insufficiency in SR-BI knockout mice. Thus, SR-BI-mediated uptake of serum cholesterol is essential for optimal adrenal function.

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