Main content area

Docosahexaenoic acid suppresses apolipoprotein A-I gene expression through hepatocyte nuclear factor-3β

Kuang, Yu-Lin, Paulson, K. Eric, Lichtenstein, Alice H., Matthan, Nirupa R., Lamon-Fava, Stefania
The American journal of clinical nutrition 2011 v.94 no.2 pp. 594-600
apolipoprotein A-I, chromatin, dietary supplements, docosahexaenoic acid, electrophoresis, fatty acid composition, gene expression, hepatoma, high density lipoprotein, humans, immunoassays, mechanism of action, messenger RNA, palmitic acid, polymerase chain reaction, transfection
BACKGROUND: Dietary fish-oil supplementation has been shown in human kinetic studies to lower the production rate of apolipoprotein (apo) A-I, the major protein component of HDL. The underlying mechanism responsible for this effect is not fully understood. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effect and the mechanism of action of the very-long-chain n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), relative to the saturated fatty acid palmitic acid (PA), on the hepatic expression of apo A-I in HepG2 cells. DESIGN: HepG2 cells were treated with different doses of DHA and PA (0-200 μmol/L). mRNA expression levels of apo A-I were assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction, and apo A-I protein concentrations were measured by immunoassay. DHA dose-dependently suppressed apo A-I mRNA levels and also lowered apo A-I protein concentrations in the media, with maximum effects at 200 μmol/L. This concentration of fatty acids was used in all subsequent experiments. RESULTS: To elucidate the mechanism mediating the reduction in apo A-I expression by DHA, transfection experiments were conducted with plasmid constructs containing serial deletions of the apo A-I promoter. The DHA-responsive region was mapped to the -185 to -148 nucleotide region of the apo A-I promoter, which binds the hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-3β. Nuclear extracts from cells treated with DHA or PA had a similar nuclear abundance of HNF-3β. However, electrophoresis mobility shift assays showed less binding of HNF-3β to the -180 to -140 sequence of the apo A-I promoter than did PA-treated cells. As shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis, less HNF-3β was recruited to the apo A-I promoter in DHA-treated cells than in PA-treated cells, which supports the concept of an interference of DHA with the binding of HNF-3β to the apo A-I promoter. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that, in human hepatoma HepG2 cells, DHA inhibits the binding of HNF-3β to the apo A-I promoter, resulting in the repression of apo A-I promoter transactivity and thus a reduction in apo A-I expression.