Dehydroepiandrosterone markedly inhibits the accumulation of cholesteryl ester in mouse macrophage J774-1 cells

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      To clarify the antiatherogenic mechanism of action of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), we investigated the effects of DHEA on the accumulation of cholesteryl ester (CE) in cultured mouse macrophage J774-1 cells. The accumulation of CE in J774-1 cells in the presence of acetyl low density lipoprotein (AcLDL) and 10−5 mol/1 DHEA was significantly reduced to 30% of the control values for 24 h. The marked effect of DHEA was observed as early as 6 h and continued at least for 48 h. This reduction by DHEA was dose-dependent and occurred starting at a DHEA dose of 5 × 10−7 mol/1 for 24 h. DHEA treatment did not induced any changes in the cell surface binding, cell-association, or degradation of AcLDL. In comparison, the DHEA analogues, 8354 and 8356, which are known to be much stronger inhibitors of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase than DHEA, did not show as marked an effect as DHEA on the accumulation of CE during the first 6 h. However, after 24–48 h of incubation, both 8354 and 8356 caused a marked reduction in the accumulation of CE similar to that observed with DHEA. A quantitative analysis of the cellular cholesterol content revealed that DHEA caused a marked reduction in CE with a concomitant continuous increase in free cholesterol (FC), while the DHEA analogues caused a marked reduction in CE with no change in FC. DHEA demonstrated little inhibitory effect on 25-hydroxycholesterol-driven esterification. Moreover, 10−5 mol/1 DHEA induced a CE reduction in the foam cells induced by AcLDL. The CE-reducing capacity was also observed in the DHEA analogues. This CE-reducing capacity disappeared, however, when acyl CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase inhibitor, 58-035, was also present. Based on these findings, it can be concluded that the inhibitory effect of DHEA on the CE storage in response to AcLDL can be explained, at least in part, by two mechanisms. First, a recently published mechanism, namely, the inhibitory action of DHEA on lysosomal cholesterol transport, correlates well with the inhibition against foam cell transformation by DHEA in the early phase (at 6 h) observed in our study. With regard to the second mechanism, the CE-reducing capacity of DHEA from CE-laden foam cells, which appears to be related to a decreased cholesteryl ester cycle, may contribute to the inhibitory effect on the CE storage in the late phase (at 24 h and 48 h). These phase-specific inhibitory mechanisms of DHEA on the CE-storage may therefore partly explain the antiatherogenic action of DHEA.



      ACAT (acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase), ACEase (acid cholesterol esterase), AcLDL (acetyl low density lipoprotein), BSA (bovine serum albumin), CE (cholesteryl ester), DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), DHEA-S (DHEA-sulfate), db-cAMP (N6,2′-O-dibutyryladenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate), FC (free cholesterol), G6PDH (glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase), LDL (low density lipoprotein), LPDS (lipoprotein-deficient serum), NCEase (neutral cholesterol esterase), PBS (phosphate buffer saline), TC (total cholesterol), TLC (thin-layer chromatography)
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