Indexed on: 06 Feb '04Published on: 06 Feb '04Published in: PNAS
Dietary cholesterol regulation of cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the classical pathway of bile acid synthesis, has been implicated in plasma cholesterol responsiveness. In the current study, the effects of 0.0% and 0.5% cholesterol diets were examined in Cyp7a1 knockout (KO), heterozygous Cyp7a1 KO (Het), and human Cyp7a1 transgenic mice on the mouse Cyp7a1 KO background (Tg+KO). We confirmed previous findings that dietary cholesterol increased mouse Cyp7a1 activity in Het mice but decreased human Cyp7a1 activity in Tg+KO mice. However, in both Het and Tg+KO mice, dietary cholesterol increased bile acid pool size (36% and 72%, respectively) and fecal bile acid excretion (2.2- and 3.6-fold, respectively). The expression of cholesterol 27-hydroxylase (Cyp27), the major enzyme of the alternative pathway of bile acid synthesis, was not significantly different in cholesterol-fed KO, Het, or Tg+KO mice. Furthermore, dietary cholesterol had comparable effects on total plasma cholesterol and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in KO, Het, and Tg+KO mice. Thus, in Tg+KO mice, dietary cholesterol regulates bile acid pool size, fecal bile acid excretion, and plasma cholesterol independently of Cyp7a1 activity. These results challenge the notion that dietary cholesterol regulation of Cyp7a1 is a major determinant of plasma cholesterol responsiveness.