2000 Volume 7 Issue 4 Pages 203-208
HB2 a candidate HDL receptor, is quite distinct from other HDL receptors in its structure. However, while changes in cellular cholesterol content, or a reduction in cholesterol biosynthesis accompany corresponding changes in HB2 expression, the level at which these changes occur have not been determined and the regulation and the function of HB2 remain uncertain. In order to further investigate the regulation of HB2, we administered simvastatin to rabbits to reduce cholesterol biosynthesis and follow changes in HB2 mRNA in various tissues. Six rabbits were given 15 mg/kg of simvastatin by oral administration daily and another six rabbits were given the same volume of saline as a control, for 21 days. They were then sacrificed to obtain samples of blood, liver, lung, jejunum and brain. Simvastatin reduced plasma total cholesterol by 47% and free cholesterol concentrations in liver and lung by 25 and 10%, respectively. Northern blot analysis showed that simvastatin lowered the expression of HB2 significantly in the liver and lung by 54% and 42% respectively but not in the jejunum or brain. These results support the findings of a previous study showing that HDL binding activity of both HB1 and HB2, which was determined by ligand blotting using HDL3 as a ligand, were reduced after administering cholesterol lowering agents. (Arteriosclerosis, 10 : 1045-1050, 1990). The present study suggests that simvastatin down-regulated HB2 at the transcriptional stage. Although the complete physiological function of HB2 is unclear, it appears to play some role in the cholesterol metabolism, warranting further studies to elucidate the nature of this interaction.