Jun-ichi Osuga

Jichi Medical University, Totigi, Tochigi, Japan

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Publications (87)386.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Squalene synthase (SS) catalyzes the biosynthesis of squalene, the first specific intermediate in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. To test the feasibility of lowering plasma cholesterol by inhibiting hepatic SS, we generated mice in which SS is specifically knocked out in the liver (L-SSKO) using Cre-loxP technology. Hepatic SS activity of L-SSKO mice was reduced by more than 90%. In addition, cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver slices was almost eliminated. Although the hepatic squalene contents were markedly reduced in L-SSKO mice, the hepatic contents of cholesterol and its precursors distal to squalene were indistinguishable from those of control mice, indicating the presence of sufficient centripetal flow of cholesterol and/or its precursors from the extrahepatic tissues. L-SSKO mice showed a transient liver dysfunction with moderate hepatomegaly presumably secondary to increased farnesol production. In a fed state, the plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride were significantly reduced in L-SSKO mice, primarily owing to reduced hepatic VLDL secretion. In a fasted state, the hypolipidemic effect was lost. mRNA expression of liver X receptor (LXR)-α target genes were reduced, while that of SREBP-2 target genes were increased. In conclusion, liver-specific ablation of SS inhibits hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis and induces hypolipidemia without increasing significant mortality. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · The Journal of Lipid Research
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    Full-text · Dataset · Oct 2014
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    ABSTRACT: An excess of cholesterol and/or oxysterols induces apoptosis in macrophages, contributing to the development of advanced atherosclerotic lesions. In foam cells, these sterols are stored in esterified forms, which are hydrolyzed by two enzymes: neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase 1 (Nceh1) and hormone-sensitive lipase (Lipe). A deficiency in either enzyme leads to accelerated growth of atherosclerotic lesions in mice. However, it is poorly understood how the esterification and hydrolysis of sterols are linked to apoptosis. Remarkably Nceh1-deficient thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages (TGEMs), but not Lipe-deficient TGEMs, were more susceptible to apoptosis induced by oxysterols, particularly 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC), and incubation with 25-HC caused massive accumulation of 25-HC ester in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) due to its defective hydrolysis, thereby activating ER stress signaling such as induction of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-homologous protein (CHOP). These changes were nearly reversed by inhibition of ACAT1. In conclusion, deficiency of Nceh1 augments 25-HC-induced ER stress and subsequent apoptosis in TGEMs. In addition to reducing the cholesteryl ester content of foam cells, Nceh1 may protect against the pro-apoptotic effect of oxysterols and modulate the development of atherosclerosis.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · The Journal of Lipid Research
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrolysis of intra-cellular cholesteryl ester (CE) is the rate-limiting step in the efflux of cholesterol from macrophage foam cells. In mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPMs), this process is thought to involve several enzymes: hormone-sensitive lipase (Lipe), carboxylesterase 3 (Ces3), neutral CE hydrolase 1 (Nceh1). However, there is some disagreement over the relative contributions of these enzymes. To solve this problem, we first compared the abilities of several compounds to inhibit the hydrolysis of CE in cells overexpressing Lipe, Ces3 or Nceh1. Cells overexpressing Ces3 had negligible neutral CE hydrolase activity. We next examined the effects of these inhibitors on the hydrolysis of CE and subsequent cholesterol trafficking in MPMs. CE accumulation was increased by a selective inhibitor of Nceh1, paraoxon and two non-selective inhibitors of Nceh1, (+)-AS115 and (-)-AS115, but not by two Lipe-selective inhibitors, orlistat and 76-0079. Paraoxon inhibited cholesterol efflux to apolipoprotein A-I or HDL, while 76-0079 did not. These results suggest that Nceh1 plays a dominant role over Lipe in the hydrolysis of CE and subsequent cholesterol efflux in MPMs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · The Journal of Lipid Research
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    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Endocrine
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    ABSTRACT: Postprandial hyperglycemia and/or hyperlipidemia can contribute to development of atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The objective of this study was to compare the effects of miglitol and sitagliptin on postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism in patients with T2DM. Thirty-five patients with T2DM were randomized to 2 groups receiving miglitol (150 mg/day) or sitagliptin (50 mg/day). Serum variables related to glucose and lipid metabolism were measured before and after treatment for 10 weeks and at 0, 60, and 120 min using a cookie-loading test (CLT). After 10 weeks of treatment, miglitol (n = 16) and sitagliptin (n = 18) caused a similarly significant decrease in hemoglobin A1c (mean: 7.6% to 7.3% versus 8.0% to 7.6%) and a significant increase in fasting insulin levels, with a greater increase observed in the miglitol group than in the sitagliptin group (p=0.03). In addition, a significant decrease in the change in glucose levels after the CLT was observed in both groups, with a greater decrease observed in the miglitol group than in the sitagliptin group (p=0.02). The miglitol group also showed a greater decrease in the change in insulin levels after the CLT than the sitagliptin group (p<0.01). The lipid and lipoprotein levels did not show any significant differences between the groups after the CLT. Our results suggested that miglitol and sitagliptin treatment resulted in similar glycemic control but that a greater decrease in postprandial glucose and insulin levels was observed with miglitol compared with sitagliptin in patients with T2DM.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Endocrine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: Familial apolipoprotein C-II (apoC-II) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder with marked hypertriglyceridemia resulting from impaired activation of lipoprotein lipase. In most cases of apoC-II deficiency, causative mutations have been found in the protein-coding region of APOC2; however, several atypical cases of apoC-II deficiency were reported to have markedly reduced, but detectable levels of plasma apoC-II protein (hereafter referred to as hypoapoC-II), which resulted from decreased promoter activity or improper splicing of apoC-II mRNA due to homozygous mutations in APOC2. Here we aim to dissect the molecular bases of a new case of hypoapoC-II. Methods: We performed detailed biochemical/genetic analyses of our new case of hypoapoC-II, manifesting severe hypertriglyceridemia (plasma triglycerides, 3235 mg·dL(-1)) with markedly reduced levels of plasma apoC-II (0.6 mg·dL(-1)). Results: We took advantage of a monocyte/macrophage culture system to prove that transcription of apoC-II mRNA was decreased in the patient's cells, which is compatible with the reported features of hypoapoC-II. Concomitantly, transcriptional activity of the minigene reporter construct of the patient's APOC2 gene was decreased; however, no rare variant was detected in the patient's APOC2 gene. Fifty single nucleotide variants were detected in the patient's APOC2, but all were common variants (allele frequencies >35%) that are supposedly not causative. Conclusions: A case of apoC-II deficiency was found that is phenotypically identical to hypoapoC-II but with no causative mutations in APOC2, implying that other genes regulate apoC-II levels. The clinical entity of hypoapoC-II is discussed.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis
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    ABSTRACT: The role of macrophage lipoprotein lipase (LpL) in the development of atherosclerosis and adiposity was examined in macrophage LpL knockout (MLpLKO) mice. MLpLKO mice were generated using cre-loxP gene targeting. Loss of LpL in macrophages did not alter plasma LpL activity or lipoprotein levels. Incubation of apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-deficient β-VLDL with peritoneal macrophages from ApoE knockout mice lacking macrophage LpL (MLpLKO/ApoEKO) led to less cholesteryl ester formation than that found with ApoEKO macrophages. MLpLKO/ApoEKO macrophages had reduced intracellular triglyceride levels, with decreased CD36 and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 mRNA levels compared to ApoEKO macrophages, when incubated with VLDL. Although both MLpLKO/ApoEKO and ApoEKO mice developed comparable hypercholesterolemia in response to feeding with a Western-type diet for 12 weeks, atherosclerosis was less in MLpLKO/ApoEKO mice. Epididymal fat mass and gene expression levels associated with inflammation did not differ between the two groups. In conclusion, macrophage LpL plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, but not adiposity.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2013 · The Journal of Lipid Research
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    ABSTRACT: There are very few clinical reports that have compared the association between cigarette smoking and microangiopathy in Asian patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). The objective of this study was to assess the relationships between urinary protein concentrations and smoking and gender-based risk factors among patients with T1DM. A cross-sectional study of 259 patients with T1DM (men/women = 90/169; mean age, 50.7 years) who visited our hospital for more than 1 year between October 2010 and April 2011 was conducted. Participants completed a questionnaire about their smoking habits. Patient characteristics included gender, age, body mass index, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, lipid parameters, and microangiopathy. Diabetic nephropathy (DN) was categorized as normoalbuminuria (NA), microalbuminuria (MA), or overt albuminuria (OA) on the basis of the following urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) levels: NA, ACR levels less than 30 mg/g creatinine (Cr); MA, ACR levels between 30 and 299 mg/g Cr; and OA, ACR levels over 300 mg/g Cr. The percentages of current nonsmokers and current smokers with T1DM were 73.0% (n = 189) and 27.0% (n = 70), respectively. In addition, the percentage of males was higher than that of females (52.2% versus 13.6%) in the current smoking population. The percentage of DN was 61.8% (n = 160) in patients with NA, 21.6% (n = 56) in patients with MA, and 16.6% (n = 43) in patients with OA. The percentage of males among OA patients was also higher than that of females (24.4% versus 12.4%). However, current smoking status was associated with OA in females with T1DM only [unadjusted odds ratio (OR), 4.13; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.45-11.73, P < 0.01; multivariate-adjusted OR, 5.41; 95% CI, 1.69-17.30, P < 0.01]. Based on our results in this cross-sectional study of Asian patients with T1DM, smoking might be a risk factor for OA among female patients. Further research is needed of these gender-specific results.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Tobacco Induced Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: To address the effects of ezetimibe on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism, the HDL subclasses, cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), and lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) were measured in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Twenty-three hypercholesterolemic patients with T2DM were treated with 10 mg of ezetimibe daily for 12 weeks. Plasma total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (C), HDL-C, HDL(2)-C, HDL(3)-C, CETP mass, and LCAT activity were measured. HDL-C and HDL(2)-C increased by 5% (p<0.05) and 12% (p<0.01), respectively, in response to ezetimibe. Of the 23 patients, 21 had decreased CETP mass, which led to an average reduction of 20% (p<0.0001). LCAT activity also decreased by 6% (p<0.01). A significant positive correlation was found in the changes from baseline between HDL(2)-C and CETP mass, whereas a significant inverse relationship was observed between HDL(3)-C and CETP mass. Furthermore, the change in HDL-C was positively correlated with the change in LCAT activity. In conclusion, ezetimibe may affect HDL metabolism and reverse cholesterol transport, especially CETP, in T2DM. These observations may provide some insights into how ezetimibe prevents atherosclerosis.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Endocrine Journal
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    ABSTRACT: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) catalyzes the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis and has proven to be an effective target of lipid-lowering drugs, statins. The aim of this study was to understand the role of hepatic HMGCR in vivo. To disrupt the HMGCR gene in liver, we generated mice homozygous for a floxed HMGCR allele and heterozygous for a transgene encoding Cre recombinase under the control of the albumin promoter (liver-specific HMGCR knockout mice). Ninety-six percent of male and 71% of female mice died by 6 weeks of age, probably as a result of liver failure or hypoglycemia. At 5 weeks of age, liver-specific HMGCR knockout mice showed severe hepatic steatosis with apoptotic cells, hypercholesterolemia, and hypoglycemia. The hepatic steatosis and death were completely reversed by providing the animals with mevalonate, indicating its essential role in normal liver function. There was a modest decrease in hepatic cholesterol synthesis in liver-specific HMGCR knockout mice. Instead, they showed a robust increase in the fatty acid synthesis, independent of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c. Hepatocyte HMGCR is essential for the survival of mice, and its abrogation elicits hepatic steatosis with jaundice and hypoglycemia.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The combination of pegylated interferon-α2b (PEG-IFNα) and ribavirin (RBV) is a standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. The case of a patient with chronic hepatitis C who developed Hashitoxicosis followed by type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) with PEG-IFNα plus RBV combination therapy, but not IFNα alone, is presented.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Diabetes research and clinical practice

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Nov 2011
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    ABSTRACT: Inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthesis, is the most effective way to lower plasma cholesterol level. Accumulating evidence has suggested that HMGCR inhibitor, statin, inhibits the occurrence of coronary heart diseases via a pathway independent of cholesterol-lowering. Besides anti-inflammation, a wide variety of effects on the arterial wall cells have been proposed to mediate the pleiotropic effects. However, little is known about its effects on monocyte/macrophages, especially in in vivo setting. To address this, we have generated mice lacking HMGCR in macrophage-specific manner (M-HMGCRKO) by crossing mice overexperssing Cre recombinase under the promoter of lysozyme to floxed HMGCR mice (HMGCRfl/fl). Southern blot analysis showed, 50% of HMGCR gene was disrupted in peritoneal macrophages (p<0.05). mRNA level of HMGCR was reduced to the same degree. Numbers of circulating monocytes were reduced by 45.9% (p<0.001). Adhesiveness of peritoneal macrophages to plastic dish reduced by 32.6% in M-HMGCRKO mice (p<0.05). To examine the effect of the absence of HMGCR in macrophages on the development of atherosclerosis, we generated mice lacking both macrophage HMGCR and LDL receptor (M-HMGCRKO/LDLRKO). After 12 weeks on atherogenic diet, M-HMGCRKO/LDLRKO mice were leaner by 18.7% (p<0.01) and less hypercholesterolemic by 36.6% (p<0.001) than HMGCRfl/fl/LDLRKO mice. The reduced weight was primarily attributable to reduced food intake (-18.7%, p<0.001). M-HMGCRKO/LDLRKO mice developed less atherosclerotic lesions than M-HMGCRfl/fl/LDLRKO mice (cross-section of aortic root: 8.3±3.7 vs. 22.5±6.4%, p<0.0001, and en face of aorta: 17.3±7.5 vs. 55.7±3.5X105 µm2, p<0.0001). The lesion size showed significant positive correlation with body weight (r=0.63, p=0.015), but not with plasma cholesterol levels. In conclusion, genetic disruption of HMGCR in macrophages inhibited the development of atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic mice even though the disruption was partial. In addition to the changes in the numbers and functions of monocyte/macrophage, the metabolic changes might contribute to the alleviation of the atherosclerotic lesion formation.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Nov 2011

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Rheumatology International
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) in β cells causes impaired insulin secretion and β cell dysfunction associated with diminished pancreatic duodenal homeodomain transcription factor-1 (PDX-1) expression in vitro and in vivo. To identify the molecular mechanism responsible for this effect, the mouse Pdx-1 gene promoter (2.7 kb) was analyzed in β cell and non-β cell lines. Despite no apparent sterol regulatory element-binding protein-binding sites, the Pdx-1 promoter was suppressed by SREBP-1c in β cells in a dose-dependent manner. PDX-1 activated its own promoter. The E-box (−104/−99 bp) in the proximal region, occupied by ubiquitously expressed upstream stimulatory factors (USFs), was crucial for the PDX-1-positive autoregulatory loop through direct PDX-1·USF binding. This positive feedback activation was a prerequisite for SREBP-1c suppression of the promoter in non-β cells. SREBP-1c and PDX-1 directly interact through basic helix-loop-helix and homeobox domains, respectively. This robust SREBP-1c·PDX-1 complex interferes with PDX-1·USF formation and inhibits the recruitment of PDX-1 coactivators. SREBP-1c also inhibits PDX-1 binding to the previously described PDX-1-binding site (−2721/−2646 bp) in the distal enhancer region of the Pdx-1 promoter. Endogenous up-regulation of SREBP-1c in INS-1 cells through the activation of liver X receptor and retinoid X receptor by 9-cis-retinoic acid and 22-hydroxycholesterol inhibited PDX-1 mRNA and protein expression. Conversely, SREBP-1c RNAi restored Pdx-1 mRNA and protein levels. Through these multiple mechanisms, SREBP-1c, when induced in a lipotoxic state, repressed PDX-1 expression contributing to the inhibition of insulin expression and β cell dysfunction.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is an important enzyme involved in the esterification of cholesterol. Here, we report a novel point mutation in the LCAT gene of a 63-year-old female with characteristics of classic familial LCAT deficiency. The patient's clinical manifestations included corneal opacity, mild anemia, mild proteinuria and normal renal function. She had no sign of coronary heart disease. Her LCAT activity was extremely low. DNA sequencing revealed a point mutation in exon 5 of the LCAT gene: a G to C substitution converting Gly(179) to an Arg, located in one of the catalytic triads of the enzyme. In vitro expression of recombinant LCAT proteins in HEK293 cells showed that the mutant G179R protein was present in the cell lysate, but not the culture medium. LCAT activity was barely detectable in the cell lysate or medium of the cells expressing the G179R mutant. This novel missense mutation seems to cause a complete loss of catalytic activity of LCAT, which is also defective in secretion.
    No preview · Article · May 2011 · Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis
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    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol ester-laden macrophage foam cells are a hallmark of atherosclerosis. The cycle of esterification and hydrolysis of cholesterol esters is one of the key steps in macrophage cholesterol trafficking. In the process of foam cell formation, excess free cholesterol undergoes esterification by acyl coenzyme A: acylcholesterol transferase 1 (ACAT-1), and fatty acid sterol esters are stored in cytoplasmic lipid droplets. The actions of ACAT-1 are opposed by neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase (nCEH), which generates free cholesterol and fatty acids. The resulting free cholesterol is a preferential source for cholesterol efflux into the extracellular space. Despite the important role of nCEH in protection against foam cell formation and atherosclerosis, the molecular identity of nCEH has long been debated. Although hormone-sensitive lipase (LIPE) has been proposed to be the nCEH in macrophages, recent evidence suggested the existence of other nCEH(s). We have recently identified a novel nCEH, neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase 1 (NCEH1), and demonstrated that NCEH1, in addition to LIPE, primarily mediates the hydrolysis of CE in macrophages. This review focuses on the protective roles of nCEHs in atherosclerosis, with special emphasis on the role of NCEH1.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously demonstrated that neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase 1 (Nceh1) regulates foam cell formation and atherogenesis through the catalytic activity of cholesterol ester hydrolysis, and that Nceh1 and hormone-sensitive lipase (Lipe) are responsible for the majority of neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase activity in macrophages. There are several cholesterol ester-metabolizing tissues and cells other than macrophages, among which adrenocortical cells are also known to utilize the intracellular cholesterol for steroidogenesis. It has been believed that the mobilization of intracellular cholesterol ester in adrenal glands was facilitated solely by Lipe. We herein demonstrate that Nceh1 is also involved in cholesterol ester hydrolysis in adrenal glands. While Lipe deficiency remarkably reduced the neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase activity in adrenal glands as previously reported, additional inactivation of Nceh1 gene completely abrogated the activity. Adrenal glands were enlarged in proportion to the degree of reduced neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase activity, and the enlargement of adrenal glands and the accumulation of cholesterol esters were most pronounced in the Nceh1/Lipe double-deficient mice. Thus Nceh1 is involved in the adrenal cholesterol metabolism, and the cholesterol ester hydrolytic activity in adrenal glands is associated with the organ enlargement.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrolysis of intracellular cholesterol ester (CE) is the key step in the reverse cholesterol transport in macrophage foam cells. We have recently shown that neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase (Nceh)1 and hormone-sensitive lipase (Lipe) are key regulators of this process in mouse macrophages. However, it remains unknown which enzyme is critical in human macrophages and atherosclerosis. We aimed to identify the enzyme responsible for the CE hydrolysis in human macrophages and to determine its expression in human atherosclerosis. We compared the expression of NCEH1, LIPE, and cholesterol ester hydrolase (CES1) in human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMMs) and examined the effects of inhibition or overexpression of each enzyme in the cholesterol trafficking. The pattern of expression of NCEH1 was similar to that of neutral CE hydrolase activity during the differentiation of HMMs. Overexpression of human NCEH1 increased the hydrolysis of CE, thereby stimulating cholesterol mobilization from THP-1 macrophages. Knockdown of NCEH1 specifically reduced the neutral CE hydrolase activity. Pharmacological inhibition of NCEH1 also increased the cellular CE in HMMs. In contrast, LIPE was barely detectable in HMMs, and its inhibition did not decrease neutral CE hydrolase activity. Neither overexpression nor knockdown of CES1 affected the neutral CE hydrolase activity. NCEH1 was expressed in CD68-positive macrophage foam cells of human atherosclerotic lesions. NCEH1 is expressed in human atheromatous lesions, where it plays a critical role in the hydrolysis of CE in human macrophage foam cells, thereby contributing to the initial part of reverse cholesterol transport in human atherosclerosis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Circulation Research

Publication Stats

3k Citations
386.49 Total Impact Points


  • 2009-2015
    • Jichi Medical University
      • • Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
      • • Department of Medicine
      Totigi, Tochigi, Japan
  • 1995-2011
    • The University of Tokyo
      • • Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases
      • • Division of Internal Medicine
      • • Division of Surgery
      白山, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2002-2003
    • University of Tsukuba
      • Institute of Clinical Medicine
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • VA Palo Alto Health Care System
      Palo Alto, California, United States