Abstract 65: Flavin Monoxygenase 3 (FMO3) is a Novel Regulator of Hepatic Cholesterol Metabolism and Transintestinal Cholesterol Efflux (TICE).
Recent studies have revealed a novel route for cholesterol disposal through intestine known as transintestinal cholesterol efflux (TICE) that significantly contributes to fecal neutral sterol loss. This pathway is an integral part of reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), yet major mechanisms regulating TICE are not well understood. Using an unbiased transcriptional profiling approach in mouse models of augmented TICE, we found that hepatic expression of the enzyme Flavin monoxygenase 3 (FMO3) was dramatically repressed. At the same time we identified this enzyme through transcriptional profiling, it was reported that plasma levels of its product trimethylamineoxide (TMAO) are highly predictive of atheroslcerosis in humans, and TMAO is proatherogenic in mice. To further understand FMO3’s role as a regulator of cholesterol metabolism we used antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) to knockdown FMO3 expression in mouse liver in C57BL/6 mice fed either low (0.02%) or high (0.2%) levels of dietary cholesterol. As expected, FMO3 knockdown (>90% knockdown in the liver) increased the TMA/TMAO ratio in plasma more than 3-fold. Interestingly, knockdown of FMO biliary cholesterol levels were reduced by 60%, whereas fecal cholesterol loss was quite normal in FMO3 ASO treated mice fed a high cholesterol diet, which phenocopies a previously described mouse model where TICE predominates (NPC1L1-liver transgenic mice). ASO-mediated knockdown of FMO3 also unexpectedly reduced hepatic cholesteryl ester (CE) storage by 70% in mice fed 0.2% cholesterol. In parallel, knockdown of FMO3 reduces plasma VLDL cholesterol levels and the secretion rate of VLDL cholesteryl ester, but not triacylglycerol in cholesterol fed mice. FMO3 knockdown also reduced the hepatic expression of several liver X receptor (LXR) target genes, while increasing expression of genes involved in cholesterol synthesis. Collectively, these studies have identified FMO3 as a novel regulator of hepatic cholesterol metabolism and TICE. Given that plasma levels of FMO3’s product (TMAO) are strongly associated with atherosclerosis development in humans, and production of TMAO promotes atherosclerosis in mice, these studies have important implications for future cardiovascular drug discovery.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.