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Journal of lipid research

Quercetin enhances ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux through a p38-dependent pathway in macrophages.


PMID 22711909

Abstract

ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) plays a crucial role in exporting cholesterol from macrophages, a function relevant to its involvement in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Quercetin, one of flavonoids, has been described to reduce atherosclerotic lesion formation. This study is aimed to investigate the effect of quercetin on regulation of ABCA1 expression and to explore its underlying mechanisms in macrophages. The results show that quercetin markedly enhanced cholesterol efflux from macrophages in a concentration-dependent manner, which was associated with an increase in ABCA1 mRNA and protein expression. Remarkably, quercetin is able to stimulate the phosphorylation of p38 by up to 234-fold at 6 h via an activation of the transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) and mitogen-activated kinase kinase 3/6 (MKK3/6). Inhibition of p38 with a pharmacological inhibitor or small hairpin RNA (shRNA) suppressed the stimulatory effects of quercetin on ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux. Moreover, knockdown of p38 reduced quercetin-enhanced ABCA1 promoter activity and the binding of specificity protein 1 (Sp1) and liver X receptor α (LXRα) to the ABCA1 promoter using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. These findings provide evidence that p38 signaling is essential for the regulation of quercetin-induced ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux in macrophages.

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O9890
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C19H22O7