Intestinal cholesterol transport proteins: an update and beyond.

Research Centre, CHU-Sainte-Justine, Québec, Canada.
Current Opinion in Lipidology (Impact Factor: 5.8). 07/2007; 18(3):310-8. DOI: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e32813fa2e2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Various studies have delineated the causal role of dietary cholesterol in atherogenesis. Strategies have thus been developed to minimize cholesterol absorption, and cholesterol transport proteins found at the apical membrane of enterocytes have been extensively investigated. This review focuses on recent progress related to various brush-border proteins that are potentially involved in alimentary cholesterol transport.
Molecular mechanisms responsible for dietary cholesterol and plant sterol uptake have not been completely defined. Growing evidence, however, supports the concept that several proteins are involved in mediating intestinal cholesterol transport, including SR-BI, NPC1L1, CD36, aminopeptidase N, P-glycoprotein, and the caveolin-1/annexin-2 heterocomplex. Other ABC family members (ABCA1 and ABCG5/ABCG8) act as efflux pumps favoring cholesterol export out of absorptive cells into the lumen or basolateral compartment. Several of these cholesterol carriers influence intracellular cholesterol homeostasis and are controlled by transcription factors, including RXR, LXR, SREBP-2 and PPARalpha. The lack of responsiveness of NPC1L1-deficient mice to ezetimibe suggests that NPC1L1 is likely to be the principal target of this cholesterol-lowering drug.
The understanding of the role, genetic regulation and coordinated function of proteins mediating intestinal cholesterol transport may lead to novel ways of treating cardiovascular disease.

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