Decreased plasma cholesterol and hypersensitivity to statins in mice lacking Pcsk9

Shirya Rashid, David E. Curtis, Rita Garuti, Norma H. Anderson, Yuriy Bashmakov, Y. K. Ho, Robert E Hammer, Young Ah Moon, Jay D Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

537 Scopus citations


PCSK9 encodes proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9a (PCSK9), a member of the proteinase K subfamily of subtilases. Missense mutations in PCSK9 cause an autosomal dominant form of hypercholesterolemia in humans, likely due to a gain-of-function mechanism because overexpression of either WT or mutant PCSK9 reduces hepatic LDL receptor protein (LDLR) in mice. Here, we show that livers of knockout mice lacking PCSK9 manifest increased LDLR protein but not mRNA. Increased LDLR protein led to increased clearance of circulating lipoproteins and decreased plasma cholesterol levels (48 mg/dl in Pcsk9 -/- mice versus 98 mg/dl in WT mice). Statins, a class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol synthesis, increase expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 (SREBP-2), a transcription factor that activates both the Ldlr and Pcsk9 genes. Statin administration to Pcsk9-/- mice produced an exaggerated increase in LDLRs in liver and enhanced LDL clearance from plasma. These data demonstrate that PCSK9 regulates the amount of LDLR protein in liver and suggest that inhibitors of PCSK9 may act synergistically with statins to enhance LDLRs and reduce plasma cholesterol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5374-5379
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 12 2005


  • Lipoproteins
  • Low-density lipoprotein receptor
  • Proteinase
  • Sterol regulatory element-binding protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Decreased plasma cholesterol and hypersensitivity to statins in mice lacking Pcsk9'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this