LXRβ activation increases intestinal cholesterol absorption, leading to an atherogenic lipoprotein profile

X. Hu, K. R. Steffensen, Z. Y. Jiang, P. Parini, J. Å Gustafsson, M. Gåfvels, G. Eggertsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are essential for the regulation of intestinal cholesterol absorption. Because two isoforms exist, LXRα and LXRβ, with overlapping but not identical functions, we investigated whether LXRα and LXRβ exert different effects on intestinal cholesterol absorption. Design. Wild-type (WT), LXRα-/- and LXRβ-/- mice were fed control diet, 0.2% cholesterol-enriched diet or 0.2% cholesterol-enriched diet plus the LXR agonist GW3965. Results. When fed a control diet, all three genotypes showed similar levels of cholesterol absorption. Of interest, a significant increase in cholesterol absorption was found in the LXRα-/- mice, but not in the WT or LXRβ-/- animals, when fed a diet enriched with 0.2% cholesterol or 0.2% cholesterol+GW3965. Reduced faecal neutral sterol excretion and a hydrophobic bile acid profile were also observed in LXRα-/- mice. Greater increases in the apolipoprotein (apo)B-containing lipoproteins in serum were seen in the LXRα-/- mice. A 0.2% cholesterol+GW3965 diet suppressed intestinal Npc1l1 protein expression to the same extent for all genotypes, while Abca1 and Abcg5 were elevated to the same degree. Conclusions. In the intestine, LXRα and LXRβ seem to exert similar effects on expression of cholesterol-transporting proteins such as Npc1l1. Selective activation of LXRβ may generate effects such as increased cholesterol absorption and elevated serum levels of apoB-containing lipoproteins, which seem to be counteracted by LXRα. Therefore, an intestinal LXRβ-specific pathway might exist in terms of cholesterol transportation in addition to the main pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-464
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Cholesterol
  • Cholesterol absorption
  • HDL
  • Intestine
  • Liver X receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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