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Oxysterols as non-genomic regulators of cholesterol homeostasis

Authors
Journal
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
1043-2760
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
23
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tem.2011.12.002
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Physics

Abstract

Tight regulation of cellular and plasma cholesterol is crucial to proper cellular functioning because excess free cholesterol is toxic to cells and is associated with atherosclerosis and heart disease. Cellular cholesterol homeostasis is regulated by enzymatically formed oxygenated cholesterol derivatives termed oxysterols. Although the effects of oxysterols on transcriptional pathways are well described, the non-transcriptional mechanisms through which oxysterols acutely modulate cellular cholesterol levels are less well understood. We present emerging evidence suggesting that the membrane biophysical properties of oxysterols underlie their acute cholesterol-regulatory functions and discuss the relevance of these acute effects to cholesterol overload in physiological and pathophysiological states.

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