Amir Babiker

Karolinska University Hospital, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden

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Publications (14)58.02 Total impact

  • Magnus Hansson · Kjell Wikvall · Amir Babiker
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    ABSTRACT: Regulatory mechanisms for human CYP27A1 enzyme have not yet been fully investigated. Our approach was to add different hormones and cytokines to cultured human monocyte-derived macrophages, and assess the effects on the CYP27A1 by measuring the production of 27-hydroxylated cholesterol in the media. Of the different hormones and cytokines tested, only transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) had a clear effect on CYP27A1. Further experiments showed a significant increase in 27-hydroxylated cholesterol products (27-hydroxycholesterol and 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid). A concomitant increase in CYP27A1 mRNA levels was also seen and this positive effect was confirmed using a human CYP27A1 luciferase reporter gene expressed in HepG2 cells. Experiments with progressive deletion/luciferase reporter gene constructs indicated that a TGF-beta1 responsive sequence might be localized in a region about 400 bp upstream of the CYP27A1 translation start. The possibility is discussed that induction of CYP27A1 by TGF-beta1 may be responsible for some of the anti-atherogenic properties of this cytokine.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2005; 1687(1-3):44-51. DOI:10.1016/j.bbalip.2004.11.002 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Extrahepatic sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27) appears to have a role in the elimination of excess cholesterol from various cells, particularly macrophages, and there is a net flux of 27-hydroxyycholesterol and its metabolites from different extrahepatic sources to the liver. In this study we tested the hypothesis that patients with advanced atherosclerosis may have higher levels of 27-oxygenated products in the circulation than control subjects. Concordant with previous studies, a strong correlation was observed between circulating levels of 27-hydroxycholesterol and cholesterol, in both healthy subjects and subjects with hypercholesterolemia and documented atherosclerosis. A group of male subjects with normal or only slightly elevated serum cholesterol and rapidly progressing carotid atherosclerosis (n = 20) had serum levels of 27-oxygenated cholesterol not statistically different from those of a matched group of subjects with little or no development of atherosclerosis (n = 20). The situation was similar in a group of patients (n = 20) with advanced general atherosclerosis associated with severe clinical symptoms. Among the two groups of patients with atherosclerosis, a few patients had relatively high levels of 27-oxygenated products. Among the healthy controls, two healthy volunteers (brother and sister) were found to have high levels of 27-hydroxycholesterol, most probably due to genetic reasons. The possibility is discussed that the high levels of 27-oxygenated products in the circulation of a few patients with atherosclerosis may be related to high amounts of active macrophages present in atherosclerotic lesions. In view of the number of factors that could affect the levels in the circulation, other explanations cannot be ruled out. At the present state of knowledge, measurements of circulating levels of 27-oxygenated metabolites do not seem to add useful information about the atherosclerotic process.
    Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation 02/2005; 65(5):365-75. DOI:10.1080/00365510510025746 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The conversion of cholesterol into the more polar metabolites 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OH) and cholestenoic acid by the cytochrome P450 sterol 27-hydroxylase is a cholesterol-removal mechanism used by almost all cells. Most of the cholestenoic acid present in the circulation originates from the lung, and it has been suggested that sterol 27-hydroxylase is of particular importance for cholesterol homeostasis in this organ. As an example of pulmonary cholesterol accumulation, a known disorder of surfactant homeostasis, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP), was studied. Analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from PAP patients revealed a significant accumulation of the cholesterol metabolites cholestenoic acid and 27-OH. This pattern was recapitulated in serum, with a significant increase in the levels of both cholestenoic acid (P=0.003) and 27-OH (P=0.017) in PAP patients compared with healthy controls. Analysis of PAP alveolar macrophages did not reveal a significant change in mRNA expression levels of either sterol 27-hydroxylase or the cholesterol-esterifying enzyme acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase-1. These results are consistent with the contention that substrate availability, rather than enzyme expression, is the key factor in regulating the production of cholestenoic acid by the lung and that serum cholestenoic acid may be a marker of pulmonary cholesterol homeostasis.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 01/2005; 45(12):2354-60. DOI:10.1194/jlr.M400302-JLR200 · 4.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 3 Beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid, 3 beta,7 alpha-dihydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid, and 7 alpha-hydroxy-3-oxo-4-cholestenoic acid are metabolites of cholesterol present at significant concentrations (40-80 ng/ml) in human circulation. The 7 alpha-hydroxylated acids may be formed from cholesterol via two major pathways initiated by oxidations at either the 7 alpha- or 27-positions. In an attempt to clarify the origin and possible precursor-product relationships between these cholestenoic acids, we measured their deuterium enrichment in a unique experiment, after infusion of 10 g of [2H(6)]-cholesterol to a healthy volunteer. The observed extent and time-course of deuterium enrichment of circulating 3 beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic and 3 beta,7 alpha-dihydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid were almost identical, while different from that of cholesterol and 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol. Notably, the deuterium enrichment of 7 alpha-hydroxy-3-oxo-4-cholestenoic acid was similar to that of 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol (and its metabolite 7 alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one), though distinct from the other cholestenoic acids. Finally, the enrichment of unesterified 27-hydroxycholesterol followed a similar, though less pronounced, time curve to the delta(5)-cholestenoic acids. In conclusion, these results suggest that plasma 3 beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid is formed from a pool of cholesterol distinct from that used for the formation of the bulk of 27-hydroxycholesterol. The results are also in accordance with a formation of 3 beta,7 alpha-dihydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid directly from 3 beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid, and a formation of most of the circulating 7 alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one from 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol. These results are consistent with a flux of 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol from the liver into the circulation, and an extrahepatic metabolism of this steroid into 7 alpha-hydroxy-3-oxo-4-cholestenoic acid.
    Steroids 10/2003; 68(7-8):595-601. DOI:10.1016/S0039-128X(03)00081-3 · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sterol 27-hydroxylase has been suggested to be involved in an alternative pathway for the elimination of cholesterol from macrophages and early atherosclerotic lesions. We have previously shown that human lung macrophages as well as monocyte-derived macrophages have a relatively high activity of sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27). This enzyme converts intracellular cholesterol into 27-hydroxycholesterol and cholestenoic acid that flux from cultured cells into the medium. It is shown here that human monocytes have very low CYP27 activity and CYP27 mRNA levels. During differentiation into macrophages, both CYP27 activity and CYP27 mRNA levels increase markedly after 4 days of culture in serum-free medium. Addition of macrophage-colony stimulating factor had no significant effect on the induction and addition of fetal calf serum had an inhibitory effect. Cholesterol synthesis was found to be a critical factor for the production of 27-oxygenated products by the macrophages cultured in serum-free medium. The increased capacity of the differentiated cells to eliminate intracellular cholesterol is of interest and supports the contention that CYP27 is an antiatherogenic factor.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2003; 1593(2-3):283-9. DOI:10.1016/S0167-4889(02)00398-1 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have shown that inclusion of the antioxidant butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in the diet protects against development of atherosclerotic lesions in cholesterol-fed rabbits. In parallel, BHT treatment results in increased plasma triglyceride levels. The present study explores the relationship between the triglyceride-inducing and protective effects of BHT in two different studies. The combined material contains 22 rabbits fed cholesterol and 18 rabbits fed cholesterol in combination with 1% BHT. In the BHT group there was an inverse relationship between triglyceride exposure/cholesterol exposure and extent of lesions with r=0.74 (P=0.0005). Our results show that increased triglyceride exposure parallels the anti-atherogenic effect of BHT. There was no significant correlation between atheromatosis and serum BHT levels. beta-very low density lipoprotein (beta-VLDL) from cholesterol and BHT animals was triglyceride-enriched and smaller compared to beta-VLDL from cholesterol-fed animals, but there was no significant association between the anti-atherogenic effect of BHT and particle size or apolipoprotein pattern of LDL or beta-VLDL. LDL isolated from rabbits treated with cholesterol and BHT was less sensitive to oxidative modification than LDL isolated from rabbits treated with cholesterol only. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the degree of triglyceride exposure may be an important modulator of the anti-atherogenic effect of an antioxidant.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2002; 1534(2-3):129-38. DOI:10.1016/S1388-1981(01)00186-X · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infants with the cholesterol synthesis defect Smith- Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLO) have reduced activity of the enzyme 7-dehydrocholesterol-7-reductase and accumulate 7-dehydrocholesterol, with the highest concentration in the brain. As a result of the generally reduced content of cholesterol, plasma levels of oxysterols would be expected to be reduced. 24S-hydroxycholesterol is almost exclusively formed in the brain, whereas 27-hydroxycholesterol is mainly formed from extrahepatic and extracerebral cholesterol. In accordance with the expectations, sterol-correlated plasma levels of 24S-hydroxycholesterol were reduced in infants with SLO (by about 50%). In contrast, the sterol-correlated levels of 27-hydroxycholesterol in the circulation were markedly increased. No side-chain oxidized metabolites of 7-dehydrocholesterol were detected in the circulation. Recombinant human CYP27 had markedly lower 27-hydroxylase activity toward 7-dehydrocholesterol than towards cholesterol. HEK293 cells expressing 24S-hydroxylase active toward cholesterol had no significant activity towards 7-dehydrocholesterol. The plasma levels of 3 beta,7 alpha-dihydroxy-5-cholestenoic in the patients acid were reduced, suggesting a generally reduced metabolism of 27-oxygenated steroids. It is concluded that the accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the brains of patients with SLO reduces formation of 24S-hydroxycholesterol. The condition is associated with markedly increased circulating levels of 27-hydroxycholesterol, most probably due to reduced metabolism of this oxysterol. We discuss the possibility that the circulating levels of 24S-hydroxycholesterol may be used as a marker for the severity of the disease.--Björkhem, I., L. Starck, U. Andersson, D. Lütjohann, S. von Bahr, I. Pikuleva, A. Babiker, and U. Diczfaulsy. Oxysterols in the circulation of patients with the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome: abnormal levels of 24S- and 27-hydroxycholesterol. J. Lipid Res. 2001. 42: 366--371.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 04/2001; 42(3):366-71. · 4.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human alveolar macrophages have exceptionally high capacity to convert cholesterol into 27-hydroxycholesterol and cholestenoic acid by the sterol 27-hydroxylase mechanism. It is shown here that the human lung has a higher content of 27-hydroxycholesterol relative to cholesterol than any other organ. In order to evaluate the importance of the sterol 27-hydroxylase mechanism for cholesterol homeostasis in the lung, the production of cholestenoic acid by human lung was investigated. Removal of one lung reduced the level of cholestenoic acid in the circulation by 48 +/- 4% (P < 0.005). The levels of cholestenoic acid in the pulmonary artery and in the pulmonary vein showed significant differences (P < 0.002) with higher levels in the pulmonary vein (108 +/- 16 and 104 +/- 16 ng/mL, respectively). This corresponds to a net flux of cholestenoic acid from the lung of about 14 mg/day, which is more than 80% of the reported removal of this oxysterol and its metabolites from the circulation by the liver per day. Bypassing the lung for 60 min led to a reduction in circulating cholestenoic acid (30%) that fits with a pulmonary origin when taking into account the half-life of cholestenoic acid. The level of circulating cholestenoic acid was found to be less in patients with different lung diseases. It is evident that most of the cholestenoic acid in the circulation is of pulmonary origin. The present results suggest that the sterol 27-hydroxylase in the lung is responsible for at least half of the total flux of 27-oxygenated cholesterol metabolites to the liver and that this enzyme system may be of importance for cholesterol homeostasis in the lung.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 09/1999; 40(8):1417-25. · 4.42 Impact Factor
  • A. Babiker · I. Björkhem · U. Diczfalusy
    Atherosclerosis 05/1999; 144:121-121. DOI:10.1016/S0021-9150(99)80473-0 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • IA Pikuleva · A Babiker · M R Waterman · I Björkhem
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    ABSTRACT: The primary physiological significance of cytochrome P450c27 (CYP27) has been associated with its role in the degradation of the side chain of C27 steroids in the hepatic bile acid biosynthesis pathway, which begins with 7alpha-hydroxylation of cholesterol in liver. However, recognition that in humans P450c27 is a widely or ubiquitously expressed mitochondrial P450, and that there are alternative pathways of bile acid synthesis which begin with 27-hydroxylation of cholesterol catalyzed by P450c27, suggests the need to reevaluate the role of this enzyme and its catalytic properties. 27-Hydroxycholesterol was thought to be the only product formed upon reaction of P450c27 with cholesterol. However, the present study demonstrates that recombinant human P450c27 is also able to further oxidize 27-hydroxycholesterol giving first an aldehyde and then 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid. Kinetic data indicate that in a reconstituted system, after 27-hydroxycholesterol is formed from cholesterol, it is released from the P450 and then competes with cholesterol for reentry the enzyme active site for further oxidation. Under subsaturating substrate concentrations, the efficiencies of oxidation of 27-hydroxycholesterol and 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenal to the acid by human P450c27 are greater than the efficiency of hydroxylation of cholesterol to 27-hydroxycholesterol indicating that the first hydroxylation step in the overall conversion of cholesterol into 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid is rate-limiting. Interestingly, 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid was found to be further metabolized by the recombinant human P450c27, giving two monohydroxylated products with the hydroxyl group introduced at different positions on the steroid nucleus.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/1998; 273(29):18153-60. DOI:10.1074/jbc.273.29.18153 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Amir Babiker · Ulf Diczfalusy
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    ABSTRACT: To study the transport of 24-hydroxycholesterol, 27-hydroxycholesterol and 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid in the circulation, the distribution of these oxysterols was determined in plasma, very low density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, and lipoprotein-free plasma. An accurate method based on isotope dilution-mass spectrometry with use of individual deuterium labeled internal standards was used. 24-Hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol were found to be associated mainly with HDL and LDL, whereas 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid was found predominantly in the lipoprotein-free fraction. While both 24-hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol are present mainly in esterified form in plasma, 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid was present as free acid only. For reasons of comparison, a number of other oxysterols were determined in plasma and in isolated lipoprotein fractions. Significant amounts of these oxysterols were formed by cholesterol autoxidation during fractionation of plasma. It was therefore not possible to calculate the distribution of these oxysterols in the different plasma fractions. The present results are consistent with our previous finding that the less polar cholesterol metabolite 27-hydroxycholesterol competes with cholesterol for transport out of cells using HDL as an acceptor molecule, whereas the transport of the more polar compound 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid is facilitated by albumin.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/1998; 1392(2-3):333-9. DOI:10.1016/S0005-2760(98)00047-2 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cultured macrophages and endothelial cells have been reported to secrete 27-oxygenated metabolites of cholesterol. This mechanism was compared with the classical high density lipoprotein (HDL)-dependent reverse cholesterol transport. Under standard conditions, macrophage preparations had considerably higher capacity to secrete 27-hydroxycholesterol and 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid than had endothelial cells and fibroblasts. Western blotting showed that lung macrophages contained the most sterol 27-hydroxylase protein of the cells tested. The relative amounts of 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid produced by the macrophages were also highest. Macrophages derived from monocytes of patients with sterol 27-hydroxylase deficiency did not secrete 27-oxygenated products, demonstrating that sterol 27-hydroxylase is the critical enzyme for the conversion of cholesterol into the 27-oxygenated steroids. That sterol 27-hydroxylase is responsible not only for 27-hydroxylation of cholesterol but also for the further oxidation of this steroid into 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid was shown with use of tritium-labeled 27-hydroxycholesterol and an inhibitor of sterol 27-hydroxylase. Secretion of 27-oxygenated products by the cultured macrophages as well as the ratio between the alcohol and the acid appeared to be dependent upon total 27-hydroxylase activity, the availability of substrate cholesterol, and the presence of an acceptor for 27-hydroxycholesterol in the medium. With albumin as extracellular acceptor, the major secreted product was 3beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid. Under such conditions, secretion of labeled 27-oxygenated products was higher than that of labeled cholesterol from lung alveolar macrophages preloaded with [4-14C]cholesterol. With HDL as acceptor, 27-hydroxycholesterol was the major secreted product, and the total secretion of labeled 27-oxygenated products was only about 10% of that of labeled cholesterol. Thus, 27-hydroxycholesterol and cholesterol may compete for HDL-mediated efflux from the cells. The results support the contention that the sterol 27-hydroxylase-mediated elimination of cholesterol is more important in macrophages than in endothelial cells. This mechanism may be an alternative and/or a complement to the classical HDL-mediated reverse cholesterol transport in macrophages, in particular when the concentration of HDL is low.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/1997; 272(42):26253-61. DOI:10.1074/jbc.272.42.26253 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have recently demonstrated that cultured human alveolar macrophages efficiently convert cholesterol into excretable 27-oxygenated products. We show here that increasing the intracellular concentration of cholesterol by a factor of 10 leads to about a twofold increase in the excretion of 27-oxygenated products from cultured macrophages. Inhibition of the sterol 27-hydroxylase caused a significant intracellular accumulation of cholesterol. A direct comparison was made between flux of cholesterol and 27-oxygenated products from macrophages preloaded with [4-14C]cholesterol. Under the specific conditions employed with fetal calf serum in the culture medium, the flux of 27-oxygenated products was about 10% of that of cholesterol. Since the sterol 27-hydroxylase, which converts cholesterol to 27-oxygenated products, is present in many cell types, we suggest that 27-oxygenation is a general mechanism for removal of intracellular cholesterol. To evaluate this hypothesis, we measured the net uptake by the human liver of circulating 27-oxygenated products, which was found to be about 20 mg/24 h. This uptake corresponds to approximately 4% of the bile acid production, assuming quantitative conversion into bile acids. It is concluded that the 27-hydroxylase pathway is of significance for elimination of extrahepatic cholesterol.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 03/1996; 16(2):208-12. DOI:10.1161/01.ATV.16.2.208 · 6.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol oxidation products (oxysterols) have been implicated in several aspects of atherogenesis; they affect key enzymes in cholesterol homeostasis, induce calcification in vascular cells and possess cytotoxic properties. Oxysterols are formed during oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein (LDL). Using a recently developed method based on isotope dilution-mass spectrometry, the kinetics of formation of oxysterols during oxidation of LDL by cupric ions or soybean lipoxygenase was studied. The same products, mainly 7- and 5-oxygenated cholesterol, were formed by the two oxidation methods. Virtually no side-chain oxidized oxysterols were formed. During the oxidations, preferentially esterified cholesterol was consumed and consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and formation of conjugated dienes preceded the appearance of oxysterols. Cholesterol 7-hydroperoxides potential cytotoxins, were present in LDL oxidized by copper or lipoxygenase.
    Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 12/1995; 78(2):119-28. DOI:10.1016/0009-3084(95)02489-6 · 2.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

653 Citations
58.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2005
    • Karolinska University Hospital
      • Department of Surgery
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2003–2005
    • Akademiska Sjukhuset
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 1998
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Department of Clinical Chemistry
      Сольна, Stockholm, Sweden