2014 年 55 巻 1 号 p. 32-39
Reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is a mechanism critical to the anti-atherogenic property of HDL. Although citrulline contributes to the amelioration of atherosclerosis via endothelial nitric oxide production, it remains unclear whether it affects RCT. This study was undertaken to clarify the effects of citrulline on expressions of specific transporters such as ATP binding cassette transporters (ABC)A1 and ABCG1, and the cholesterol efflux from macrophages to apolipoprotein (apo) A-I or HDL in vitro and ex vivo. Citrulline increased ABCA1 and ABCG1 mRNA and protein levels in THP-1 macrophages, translating into enhanced apoA-I- and HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux. In the human crossover study, 8 healthy male volunteers (age 30–49 years) consumed either 3.2 g/day citrulline or placebo for 1 week. Citrulline consumption brought about significant increases in plasma levels of citrulline and arginine. Supporting the in vitro data, monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) differentiated under autologous post-citrulline sera demonstrated enhancement of both apoA-I- and HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux through increased ABCA1 and ABCG1 expressions, compared to MDM differentiated under pre-citrulline sera. However, the placebo did not modulate these parameters. Therefore, in addition to improving endothelium function, citrulline might have an anti-atherogenic property by increasing RCT of HDL.