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Cafestol increases serum cholesterol levels in apolipoprotein E*3- leiden transgenic mice by suppression of bile acid synthesis

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Author: Post, S.M. · Roos, · Vermeulen, M. · Afman, L. · Jong, M.C. · Dahlmans, V.E.H. · Havekes, L.M. · Stellaard, F. · Katan, M.B. · Princen, H.M.G.
Institution: Gaubius Instituut TNO
Source:Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 6, 20, 1551-1556
Identifier: 235588
Keywords: Biology · Animals · Apolipoprotein E3 · Apolipoproteins E · Bile Acids and Salts · Cholesterol · Diet · Diterpenes · Feces · Female · Lipid Metabolism · Lipoproteins · Lipoproteins, IDL · Lipoproteins, VLDL · Liver · Mice · Mice, Inbred C57BL · Mice, Knockout · Mice, Transgenic · Receptors, LDL


Cafestol, a diterpene present in unfiltered coffee, potently increases serum cholesterol levels in humans. So far, no suitable animal model has been found to study the biochemical background of this effect. We determined the effect of cafestol on serum cholesterol and triglycerides in different mouse strains and subsequently studied its mechanism of action in apolipoprotein (apo) E*3-Leiden transgenic mice. ApoE*3-Leiden, heterozygous low density lipoprotein-receptor (LDLR+/-) knockout, or wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice were fed a high- (0.05% wt/wt) or a low- (0.01% wt/wt) cafestol diet or a placebo diet for 8 weeks. Standardized to energy intake, these amounts are equal to 40, 8, or 0 cups of unfiltered coffee per 10 MJ per day in humans. In apoE*3-Leiden mice, serum cholesterol was statistically significantly increased by 33% on the low- and by 61% on the high-cafestol diet. In LDLR+/- and WT mice, the increases were 20% and 24%, respectively, on the low- cafestol diet and 55% and 46%, respectively, on the high-cafestol diet. These increases were mainly due to a rise in very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and intermediate density lipoprotein cholesterol in all 3 mouse strains. To investigate the mechanism of this effect, apoE*3-Leiden mice were fed a high-cafestol or a placebo diet for 3 weeks. Cafestol suppressed enzyme activity and mRNA levels of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase by 57% and 58%, respectively, mRNA levels of enzymes involved in the alternate pathway of bile acid synthesis, ie, sterol 27-hydroxylase and oxysterol 7α-hydroxylase, were reduced by 32% and 48%, respectively. The total fecal bile acid output was decreased by 41%. Cafestol did not affect hepatic free and esterified cholesterol, but it decreased LDLR mRNA levels by 37%. The VLDL apoB and triglyceride production rates, as measured after Triton injection, were 2- fold decreased by cafestol, indicating that the number of particles secreted had declined and that there was no change in the amount of triglycerides present in the VLDL particle during cafestol treatment. However, the VLDL particles contained a 4-times higher amount of cholesteryl esters, resulting in a net 2-fold increased secretion of cholesteryl esters. The decrease in triglyceride production was the result of a reduction in hepatic triglyceride content by 52%. In conclusion, cafestol increases serum cholesterol levels in apoE*3-Leiden mice by suppression of the major regulatory enzymes in the bile acid synthesis pathways, leading to decreased LDLR mRNA levels and increased secretion of hepatic cholesterol esters. We suggest that suppression of bile acid synthesis may provide an explanation for the cholesterol-raising effect of cafestol in humans. Chemicals/CAS: apolipoprotein E3 (Leidein); Apolipoprotein E3; Apolipoproteins E; Bile Acids and Salts; cafestol, 469-83-0; Cholesterol, 57-88-5; Diterpenes; Lipoproteins; Lipoproteins, IDL; Lipoproteins, VLDL; Receptors, LDL