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Studies of cholesterol biosynthesis. II. The role of desmosterol in the biosynthesis of cholesterol

Studies of cholesterol biosynthesis. II. The role of desmosterol in the biosynthesis of cholesterol

Journal of Biological Chemistry 235(11): 3127-3129

ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258

Rats under treatment with MER-29 (l-[p-([beta]-diethylaminoethoxy)-phenyl]-l-(p-tolyl)-2-(p-chlorophenyl) ethanol) were given 1-C14 acetate intraperitoneally and killed 4 hours later. The specific radioactivity of desmosterol (24-dehydro-cholesterol) isolated from the liver was about 50 times as high as that of cholesterol. Since the desmosterol content of the liver was of the same magnitude as the cholesterol content, by far the largest fraction of sterol radioactivity in the liver at 4 hours was thus present in desmosterol. A human subject under treatment with MER-29 was given 2-C14 mevalonic acid intravenously and the serum sterols were fractionated and their specific radioactivities determined at time intervals. At one hour the serum desmosterol had a specific radioactivity over 50 times that of the cholesterol. At 2 hr. the specific radioactivity ratio was still 19:1, indicating an effective block in the conversion of desmosterol to cholesterol. C14-labeled desmosterol was injected into the portal vein of a normal rat and also into the portal vein of a rat under treatment with MER-29. Analysis of the liver sterols one hour later showed that in the control animal 51.5% of the injected radioactivity was present as cholesterol in the liver, whereas in the drug-treated rat only 1.9% was present as cholesterol. A homogenate of normal rat liver was able to effect a conversion of 29 [mu]g of desmosterol to cholesterol during 3 hours of incubation at 37[degree], but a homogenate of liver from a drug-treated animal only converted 0.9 [mu]g of desmosterol to cholesterol under the same conditions (C14 desmosterol was added in a small volume of Tween 20). Addition of MER-29 (10 [mu]g/ml) to a homogenate of normal rat liver inhibited conversion of desmosterol to cholesterol by 33%. It was concluded that (a) MER-29 acts by inhibiting conversion of desmosterol to cholesterol and (b) that desmosterol is a normal intermediate in the pathway of cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver under these conditions. The possibility that the drug inhibits side chain reduction of other sterols and that there may be several alternative pathways for cholesterol biosynthesis is discussed.

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