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Abstract

Scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) mediates selective uptake of cholesterol from high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles by the liver and influences biliary cholesterol secretion. However, it is not clear, if this effect is direct or indirect. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of SR-BI on biliary cholesterol secretion, especially in a functional context with ATP-binding cassette transporter g5 (Abcg5)/Abcg8 and Abcb4. SR-BI was overexpressed by means of adenovirus (AdSR-BI) in livers of wild-type, liver X receptor–null (Lxr−/−), Abcg5−/−, and Abcb4−/− mice. Consistent with previous reports, AdSR-BI decreased plasma HDL cholesterol levels in all models (P < 0.001). Hepatic cholesterol content increased (at least P < 0.05), whereas expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein 2 target genes was decreased (at least P < 0.05,) and established Lxr target genes were unaltered. Biliary cholesterol secretion was increased by AdSR-BI in wild-type as well as in Lxr−/− and Abcg5−/− mice, and considerably less in Abcb4−/− mice (each P < 0.001), independent of bile acid and phospholipid secretion. Immunogold electron microscopy and western blot showed a substantial increase of SR-BI protein localized to basolateral and canalicular membranes in response to SR-BI overexpression. Subcellular fractionation revealed a significantly higher cholesterol content of canalicular membranes (P < 0.001) upon SR-BI overexpression. Inhibition of microtubule function did not affect SR-BI–mediated biliary cholesterol secretion, indicating that transcytosis pathways are not involved. Conclusion: Our data indicate that SR-BI mediates biliary cholesterol secretion independent of Abcg5, yet largely depends on Abcb4-mediated phospholipid secretion and mixed micelles as acceptors in bile. SR-BI–mediated biliary cholesterol secretion has a high capacity, can compensate for the absence of Abcg5, and does not require transcytosis pathways. (HEPATOLOGY 2009.)