Lipoprotein-associated cholesterol has been suggested to make a significant contribution to adrenal steroidogenesis in vivo. To determine whether lipoproteins indeed contribute to optimal adrenal steroidogenesis in mice, in the current study we have determined the effect of relative lipoprotein deficiency on adrenal steroidogenesis in C57BL/6 wild-type mice. Feeding C57BL/6 mice the lipid-lowering drug probucol (0.25% wt/wt) for 2 wk induced a 90% decrease in plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and a 77% reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Neutral lipid stores were depleted upon probucol treatment specifically in the glucocorticoid-producing zona fasciculata of the adrenal, leading to a 44% decreased plasma corticosterone level under basal conditions. Exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced a 37% increase in the adrenal uptake of HDL cholesteryl esters. Probucol-treated mice could induce only a relatively minor corticosterone response upon a LPS challenge compared with controls, which coincided with an approximately twofold increased hepatic expression level of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and an 89% higher TNFα response in plasma. Furthermore, a compensatory two- to fivefold upregulation of LDL receptor (cholesterol uptake) and HMG-CoA reductase (cholesterol synthesis) expression was noticed in the adrenals of probucol-treated mice. In conclusion, we have shown that lipoprotein deficiency in mice as a result of probucol feeding is associated with decreased adrenal cortex cholesterol levels, a lower basal and stress-induced plasma glucocorticoid level, and an increased susceptibility to LPS-induced inflammation. Therefore, it is suggested that plasma lipoproteins are required for optimal adrenal steroidogenesis and protection against endotoxemia in mice.
Hoekstra M, Korporaal SJ, Li Z, Zhao Y, Van Eck M, Van Berkel TJ. Plasma lipoproteins are required for both basal and stress-induced adrenal glucocorticoid synthesis and protection against endotoxemia in mice. Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden, The Netherlands. 2010 December Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden, The Netherlands.