Ontogenesis and Modulation of Intestinal Unesterified Cholesterol Sequestration in a Mouse Model of Niemann–Pick C1 Disease

Adam M. Lopez, Charina M. Ramirez, Anna M. Taylor, Ryan D. Jones, Joyce J. Repa, Stephen D. Turley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Mutations in the NPC1 gene result in sequestration of unesterified cholesterol (UC) and glycosphingolipids in most tissues leading to multi-organ disease, especially in the brain, liver, lungs, and spleen. Various data from NPC1-deficient mice suggest the small intestine (SI) is comparatively less affected, even in late stage disease. Methods: Using the Npc1nih mouse model, we measured SI weights and total cholesterol (TC) levels in Npc1−/− versus Npc1+/+ mice as a function of age, and then after prolonged ezetimibe-induced inhibition of cholesterol absorption. Next, we determined intestinal levels of UC and esterified cholesterol (EC), and cholesterol synthesis rates in Npc1−/− and Npc1+/+ mice, with and without the cholesterol-esterifying enzyme SOAT2, following a once-only subcutaneous injection with 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (2HPβCD). Results: By ~ 42 days of age, intestinal TC levels averaged ~ 2.1-fold more (mostly UC) in the Npc1−/− versus Npc1+/+ mice with no further increase thereafter. Chronic ezetimibe treatment lowered intestinal TC levels in the Npc1−/− mice by only ~ 16%. In Npc1−/− mice given 2HPβCD 24 h earlier, UC levels fell, EC levels increased (although less so in mice lacking SOAT2), and cholesterol synthesis was suppressed equally in the Npc1−/−:Soat2+/+ and Npc1−/−:Soat2−/− mice. Conclusions: The low and static levels of intestinal UC sequestration in Npc1−/− mice likely reflect the continual sloughing of cells from the mucosa. This sequestration is blunted by about the same extent following a single acute treatment with 2HPβCD as it is by a prolonged ezetimibe-induced block of cholesterol absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-167
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin
  • Biliary cholesterol
  • Ezetimibe
  • Fecal sterol excretion
  • Lysosomal cholesterol storage disease
  • Small intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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