Diosgenin inhibits atherosclerosis via suppressing the MiR-19b-induced downregulation of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1.
Atherosclerosis. 2015 May ;240(1):80-9. Epub 2015 Feb 24. PMID: 25765596
RATIONALE: Diosgenin (Dgn), a structural analogue of cholesterol, has been reported to have the hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic properties, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Given the key roles of macrophages in cholesterol metabolism and atherogenesis, it is critical to investigate macrophage cholesterol efflux and development of atherosclerotic lesion after Dgn treatment.
OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to evaluate the potential effects of Dgn on macrophage cholesterol metabolism and the development of aortic atherosclerosis, and to explore its underlying mechanisms.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Dgn significantly up-regulated the expression of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) protein, but didn't affect liver X receptorα levels in foam cells derived from human THP-1 macrophages and mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPMs) as determined by western blotting. The miR-19b levels were markedly down-regulated in Dgn-treated THP-1 macrophages/MPM-derived foam cells. Cholesterol transport assays revealed that treatment with Dgn alone or together with miR-19b inhibitor notably enhanced ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux, resulting in the reduced levels of total cholesterol, free cholesterol and cholesterol ester as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. The fecal 3H-sterol originating from cholesterol-laden MPMs was increased in apolipoprotein E knockout mice treated with Dgn or both Dgn and antagomiR-19b. Treatment with Dgn alone or together with antagomiR-19b elevated plasma high-density lipoprotein levels, but reduced plasma low-density lipoprotein levels. Accordingly, aortic lipid deposition andplaque area were reduced, and collagen content and ABCA1 expression were increased in mice treated with Dgn alone or together with antagomiR-19b. However, miR-19b overexpression abrogated the lipid-lowering and atheroprotective effects induced by Dgn.
CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrates that Dgn enhances ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux and inhibits aortic atherosclerosis progression by suppressing macrophage miR-19b expression.