R-α-lipoic acid and 4-phenylbutyric acid have distinct hypolipidemic mechanisms in hepatic cells

Bo He, Régis Moreau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The constitutive activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) leads to the overproduction of apoB-containing triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in HepG2 cells. R-α-lipoic acid (LA) and 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) have hypolipidemic function but their mechanisms of action are not well understood. Here, we reported that LA and PBA regulate hepatocellular lipid metabolism via distinct mechanisms. The use of SQ22536, an inhibitor of adenylyl cyclase, revealed cAMP's involvement in the upregulation of CPT1A expression by LA but not by PBA. LA decreased the secretion of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in the culture media of hepatic cells and increased the abundance of LDL receptor (LDLR) in cellular extracts in part through transcriptional upregulation. Although PBA induced LDLR gene expression, it did not translate into more LDLR proteins. PBA regulated cellular lipid homeostasis through the induction of CPT1A and INSIG2 expression via an epigenetic mechanism involving the acetylation of histone H3, histone H4, and CBP-p300 at the CPT1A and INSIG2 promoters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number289
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Butyrate
  • CAMP
  • CPT1A
  • Dyslipidemia
  • HDAC inhibitor
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • LDL receptor
  • PCSK9
  • Thioctic acid
  • Triacylglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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