Hepatic stellate cells are an important cellular site for β-carotene conversion to retinoid.

Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (Impact Factor: 3.37). 12/2010; 504(1):3-10. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are responsible for storing 90-95% of the retinoid present in the liver. These cells have been reported in the literature also to accumulate dietary β-carotene, but the ability of HSCs to metabolize β-carotene in situ has not been explored. To gain understanding of this, we investigated whether β-carotene-15,15'-monooxygenase (Bcmo1) and β-carotene-9',10'-monooxygenase (Bcmo2) are expressed in HSCs. Using primary HSCs and hepatocytes purified from wild type and Bcmo1-deficient mice, we establish that Bcmo1 is highly expressed in HSCs; whereas Bcmo2 is expressed primarily in hepatocytes. We also confirmed that HSCs are an important cellular site within the liver for accumulation of dietary β-carotene. Bcmo2 expression was found to be significantly elevated for livers and hepatocytes isolated from Bcmo1-deficient compared to wild type mice. This elevation in Bcmo2 expression was accompanied by a statistically significant increase in hepatic apo-12'-carotenal levels of Bcmo1-deficient mice. Although apo-10'-carotenal, like apo-12'-carotenal, was readily detectable in livers and serum from both wild type and Bcmo1-deficient mice, we were unable to detect either apo-8'- or apo-14'-carotenals in livers or serum from the two strains. We further observed that hepatic triglyceride levels were significantly elevated in livers of Bcmo1-deficient mice fed a β-carotene-containing diet compared to mice receiving no β-carotene. Collectively, our data establish that HSCs are an important cellular site for β-carotene accumulation and metabolism within the liver.

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