7-ketocholesterol induces lipid metabolic reprogramming and enhances cholesterol ester accumulation in cardiac cells

Mei Ling Cheng, Hsiang Yu Tang, Pei Ting Wu, Cheng Hung Yang, Chi Jen Lo, Jui Fen Lin, Hung Yao Ho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

7 Scopus citations


7-Ketocholesterol (7KCh) is a major oxidized cholesterol product abundant in lipoprotein deposits and atherosclerotic plaques. Our previous study has shown that 7KCh accumulates in erythrocytes of heart failure patients, and further investigation centered on how 7KCh may affect metabolism in cardiomyocytes. We applied metabolomics to study the metabolic changes in cardiac cell line HL-1 after treatment with 7KCh. Mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway-derived metabolites, such as farnesyl-pyrophosphate and geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate, phospholipids, and triacylglycerols levels significantly declined, while the levels of lysophospholipids, such as lysophosphatidylcholines (lysoPCs) and lysophosphatidylethanolamines (lysoPEs), considerably increased in 7KCh-treated cells. Furthermore, the cholesterol content showed no significant change, but the production of cholesteryl esters was enhanced in the treated cells. To explore the possible mechanisms, we applied mRNA-sequencing (mRNA-seq) to study genes differentially expressed in 7KCh-treated cells. The transcriptomic analysis revealed that genes involved in lipid metabolic processes, including MVA biosynthesis and cholesterol transport and esterification, were differentially expressed in treated cells. Integrated analysis of both metabolomic and transcriptomic data suggests that 7KCh induces cholesteryl ester accumulation and reprogramming of lipid metabolism through altered transcription of such genes as sterol O-acyltransferase-and phospholipase A2-encoding genes. The 7KCh-induced reprogramming of lipid metabolism in cardiac cells may be implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3597
Issue number12
StatePublished - 12 2021

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • 7-ketocholesterol
  • Cardiac cells
  • Cholesteryl esters


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