Control of Cholesterol Metabolism and Plasma HDL Levels by miRNA-144
Rationale: Foam cell formation due to excessive accumulation of cholesterol by macrophages is a pathological hallmark of atherosclerosis, the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Western societies. Liver X nuclear receptors (LXRs) regulate the expression of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, including ABCA1 and ABCG1. ABCA1 and ABCG1 facilitate the efflux of cholesterol from macrophages and regulate high-density lipoprotein (HDL) biogenesis. Increasing evidence supports the role of microRNA (miRNAs) in regulating cholesterol metabolism through ABC transporters.
Objective: We aimed to identify novel miRNAs that regulate cholesterol metabolism in macrophages stimulated with LXR agonists.
Methods and Results: To map the miRNA expression signature of macrophages stimulated with LXR agonists, we performed a miRNA profiling microarray analysis in primary mouse peritoneal macrophages stimulated with LXR ligands. We report that LXR ligands increase miR-144 expression in macrophages and mouse livers. Overexpression of miR-144 reduces ABCA1 expression and attenuates cholesterol efflux to ApoA1 in macrophages. Delivery of miR-144 oligonucleotides to mice attenuates ABCA1 expression in the liver, reducing HDL levels. Conversely, silencing of miR-144 in mice increases the expression of ABCA1 and plasma HDL levels. Thus, miR-144 appears to regulate both macrophage cholesterol efflux and HDL biogenesis in the liver.
Conclusions: 1) miR-144 regulates cholesterol metabolism via suppressing ABCA1 expression; and 2) modulation of miRNAs may represent a potential therapeutical intervention for treating dyslipidemia and atherosclerotic vascular disease.
- Cholesterol efflux
- cardiovascular research
- lipids and lipoprotein metabolism
- cholesterol homeostasis
- Received November 27, 2012.
- Revision received March 11, 2013.
- Accepted March 21, 2013.