Neuroscience letters

Effects of cholesterol oxidation products on exocytosis.

PMID 20380872


Increase in levels of oxysterols or cholesterol oxidation products have been detected in brain areas undergoing neuroinflammation after excitotoxic injury, and the present study was carried out to elucidate possible effects of these products on exocytosis in rat pheochromocytoma-12 (PC12) cells. An increase in vesicle fusion with the cell membrane indicating exocytosis was observed by total internal reflection microscopy (TIRFM), and confirmed by capacitance measurements, after addition of 7 ketocholesterol, 24 hydroxycholesterol or cholesterol 5, 6 beta epoxide. 7 ketocholesterol induced exocytosis was attenuated by pretreatment with a disruptor of cholesterol-rich domains or "lipid rafts", methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MbetaCD) as demonstrated by capacitance and amperometry measurements of neurotransmitter release. Moreover, treatment of cells with thapsigargin to deplete intracellular calcium, or treatment of cells with lanthanum chloride to block calcium channels resulted in attenuation of 7 ketocholesterol induced exocytosis. Fura-2 imaging showed that 7 ketocholesterol induced rapid and sustained increases in intracellular calcium concentration, and that this effect was attenuated in cells that were pre-treated with MbetaCD, thapsigargin or lanthanum chloride. Together, the results suggest that neurotransmitter release triggered by 7 ketocholesterol is dependent on the integrity of cholesterol rich lipid domains on cellular membranes and a rise in intracellular calcium, either through release from internal stores or influx via calcium channels. Increased cholesterol oxidation product concentrations in brain areas undergoing neuroinflammation may enhance exocytosis and neurotransmitter release, thereby aggravating excitotoxicity.

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Cholesterol 5α,6α-epoxide
Cholesterol 5β,6β-epoxide, ≥98%