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For several decades, cholesterol has been thought to cause ASCVD. Limiting dietary cholesterol intake has been recommended to reduce the risk of the disease. However, several recent epidemiological studies do not support a relationship between dietary cholesterol and/or blood cholesterol and ASCVD. Consequently, the role of cholesterol in atherogenesis is now uncertain. Much evidence indicates that TGF-β, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, protects against ASCVD and that suppression of canonical TGF-β signaling (Smad2-dependent) is involved in atherogenesis. We had hypothesized that cholesterol causes ASCVD by suppressing canonical TGF-β signaling in vascular endothelium. To test this hypothesis, we determine the effects of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC; the biosynthetic precursor of cholesterol), and other sterols on canonical TGF-β signaling. We use Mv1Lu cells (a model cell system for studying TGF-β activity) stably expressing the Smad2-dependent luciferase reporter gene. We demonstrate that 7-DHC (but not cholesterol or other sterols) effectively suppresses the TGF-β-stimulated luciferase activity. We also demonstrate that 7-DHC suppresses TGF-β-stimulated luciferase activity by promoting lipid raft/caveolae formation and subsequently recruiting cell-surface TGF-β receptors from non-lipid raft microdomains to lipid rafts/caveolae where TGF-β receptors become inactive in transducing canonical signaling and undergo rapid degradation upon TGF-β binding. We determine this by cell-surface 125 I-TGF-β-cross-linking and sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation. We further demonstrate that methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD), a sterol-chelating agent, reverses 7-DHC-induced suppression of TGF-β-stimulated luciferase activity by extrusion of 7-DHC from resident lipid rafts/caveolae. These results suggest that 7-DHC, but not cholesterol, promotes lipid raft/caveolae formation, leading to suppression of canonical TGF-β signaling and atherogenesis. J. Cell. Biochem. 118: 1387-1400, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Shuan Shian Huang, I-Hua Liu, Chun-Lin Chen, Jia-Ming Chang, Frank E Johnson, Jung San Huang. 7-Dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), But Not Cholesterol, Causes Suppression of Canonical TGF-β Signaling and Is Likely Involved in the Development of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD). Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2017 Jun;118(6):1387-1400

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PMID: 27862220

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