The liver plays a key regulatory role in cholesterol metabolism. Two proteins are central in this role; the LDL receptor and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMG CoA reductase), the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis. In the current investigation, we have used a sensitive nonradioactive method to study the regulation of LDL receptor and HMG CoA reductase mRNA levels in liver biopsy samples and freshly isolated mononuclear leukocytes from 13 patients who underwent cholecystectomy for gallstones. mRNA copy numbers were determined by PCR amplification of reverse-transcribed RNA using synthetic RNA as an internal standard. Incorporation of digoxigenin-11-dUTP during amplification allowed direct detection and quantitation of mRNA levels by chemiluminescence. These experiments showed that the average number of LDL receptor mRNA molecules in liver (21 +/- 3 x 10(4)/micrograms of RNA) and mononuclear leukocytes (24 +/- 3 x 10(4)/micrograms of RNA) are indistinguishable, whereas the number of HMG CoA reductase molecules in liver (107 +/- 15 x 10(4)/micrograms of RNA) is smaller than that in mononuclear leukocytes (158 +/- 21 x 10(4)/micrograms of RNA, P < 0.05). These numbers correspond to an average of 1-6 copies of LDL receptor mRNA and 5-42 copies of HMG CoA reductase mRNA per cell. There was a significant correlation between the numbers of LDL receptor (P = 0.0005) and HMG CoA reductase (P = 0.003) mRNA molecules in liver and mononuclear leukocytes. Furthermore, the numbers of copies of HMG CoA reductase and LDL receptor mRNA were correlated with each other in both liver (P = 0.02) and mononuclear leukocytes (P = 0.01), consistent with coordinate regulation. These data demonstrate that the mechanisms which regulate mRNA levels in liver and mononuclear cells are similar and suggest that freshly isolated mononuclear cells can be used to predict HMG CoA reductase and LDL receptor mRNA levels in liver.
E E Powell, P A Kroon
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.