7-Dehydrocholesterol metabolites produced by sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1) modulate liver X receptor activity

Kaori Endo-Umeda, Kaori Yasuda, Kazuyuki Sugita, Akira Honda, Miho Ohta, Minoru Ishikawa, Yuichi Hashimoto, Toshiyuki Sakaki, Makoto Makishima

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20 Citations (Scopus)


7-Dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) is a common precursor of vitamin D3 and cholesterol. Although various oxysterols, oxygenated cholesterol derivatives, have been implicated in cellular signaling pathways, 7-DHC metabolism and potential functions of its metabolites remain poorly understood. We examined 7-DHC metabolism by various P450 enzymes and detected three metabolites produced by sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1) using high-performance liquid chromatography. Two were further identified as 25-hydroxy-7-DHC and 26/27-hydroxy-7-DHC. These 7-DHC metabolites were detected in serum of a patient with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. Luciferase reporter assays showed that 25-hydroxy-7-DHC activates liver X receptor (LXR) α, LXRβ and vitamin D receptor and that 26/27-hydroxy-7-DHC induces activation of LXRα and LXRβ, although the activities of both compounds on LXRs were weak. In a mammalian two-hybrid assay, 25-hydroxy-7-DHC and 26/27-hydroxy-7-DHC induced interaction between LXRα and a coactivator fragment less efficiently than a natural LXR agonist, 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol. These 7-DHC metabolites did not oppose agonist-induced LXR activation and interacted directly to LXRα in a manner distinct from a potent agonist. These findings indicate that the 7-DHC metabolites are partial LXR activators. Interestingly, 25-hydroxy-7-DHC and 26/27-hydroxy-7-DHC suppressed mRNA expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c, an LXR target gene, in HepG2 cells and HaCaT cells, while they weakly increased mRNA levels of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1, another LXR target, in HaCaT cells. Thus, 7-DHC is catabolized by CYP27A1 to metabolites that act as selective LXR modulators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar


  • 7-Dehydrocholesterol
  • CYP27A1
  • Liver X receptor
  • Transcription
  • Vitamin D receptor


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