Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


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Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 36:3 (June 2011), pp. 313–322.

doi: 10.1139/H11-003


Copyright © 2011 Sarah J. Ehlers, Stephanie M. Larson, Heather E. Rasmussen, Young-Ki Park, and Ji-Young Lee; published by NRC Research Press. Used by permission.


Obese and diabetic humans display decreased plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations and an increased risk for coronary heart disease. However, investigation on HDL metabolism in obesity with a particular emphasis on hepatic ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), the primary factor for HDL formation, has not been well studied. Human apolipoprotein B100 transgenic (hApoBtg) and brown adipose tissue deficient (BATless) mice were crossed to generate hApoBtg/BATless mice. Male and female hApoBtg and hApoBtg/BATless mice were maintained on either a regular rodent chow diet or a diet high in fat and cholesterol until 24 weeks of age. The hApoBtg/BATless mice that were fed a HF/HC diet became obese, developed hepatic steatosis, and had significantly elevated plasma insulin levels compared with their hApoBtg counterparts, but plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL-C, triglycerides, and free fatty acids and lipoprotein distribution between genotypes were not significantly different. Hepatic expression of genes encoding HDL-modifying factors (e.g., scavenger receptor, class B, type I, hepatic lipase, lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase, and phospholipid transfer protein) was either altered significantly or showed a trend of difference between 2 genotypes of mice. Importantly, hepatic protein levels of ABCA1 were significantly lowered by ∼35% in male obese hApoBtg/BATless mice with no difference in mRNA levels compared with hApoBtg counterparts. Despite reduced hepatic ABCA1 protein levels, plasma HDL-C concentrations were not altered in male obese hApoBtg/BATless mice. The result suggests that hepatic ABCA1 may not be a primary contributing factor for perturbations in HDL metabolism in obesity-induced hyperinsulinemia.