Evidence That Chromium Modulates Cellular Cholesterol Homeostasis and ABCA1 Functionality Impaired by Hyperinsulinemia
Objective—Trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is an essential micronutrient. Findings since the 1950s suggest that Cr3+ might benefit cholesterol homeostasis. Here we present mechanistic evidence in support of this role of Cr3+.
Methods and Results—High-density lipoprotein cholesterol generation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, which are rendered ineffective by the hyperinsulinemia that is known to accompany disorders of lipid metabolism, was corrected by Cr3+. Mechanistically, Cr3+ reversed hyperinsulinemia-induced cellular cholesterol accrual and associated defects in cholesterol transporter ABCA1 trafficking and apolipoprotein A1–mediated cholesterol efflux. Moreover, direct activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, which is known to be activated by Cr3+, or inhibition of hexosamine biosynthesis pathway activity, which is known to be elevated by hyperinsulinemia, mimics Cr3+ action.
Conclusion—These findings suggest a mechanism of Cr3+ action that fits with long-standing claims of its role in cholesterol homeostasis. Furthermore, these data imply a mechanistic basis for the coexistence of dyslipidemia with hyperinsulinemia.
- Received December 21, 2010.
- Accepted January 31, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.