Xinxuekang Regulates Reverse Cholesterol Transport by Improving High-density Lipoprotein Synthesis, Maturation, and Catabolism
Di'ao Xinxuekang (XXK) is an herbal product in China and the Netherlands that has been clinically shown to attenuate atherosclerosis; however, the underlying antiatherosclerotic mechanism remains unclear. Because of its role in cholesterol homeostasis, reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is a potential target for these beneficial effects. This study investigated the effects of XXK on RCT and related proteins. After treating ApoE-deficient mice with XXK for 8 weeks, we observed an increase in the expression level of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 and ATP-binding cassette transporter G1, which in turn stimulated cholesterol efflux and reduced aortic atherosclerotic lesion area. XXK also increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) synthesis by modulating the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ/liver X receptor α/ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 pathway and promoted HDL maturity by increasing serum lecithin–cholesterol acyltransferase. In addition, XXK improved the selective uptake of HDL-cholesteryl ester by increasing the expression of scavenger receptor class B type I. This is the first study to show that XXK confers a regulation of RCT, at least in part, by improving HDL synthesis, maturation, and catabolism.