Interactions between cyclosporin A, low-density lipoprotein and the low-density lipoprotein receptor

Robert Churchill Scott, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Cyclosporine A (CSA) is a cyclic eleven amino acid, lipophilic molecule used therapeutically as an immunosuppressive agent. Cyclosporine can specifically inhibit the transcription of a number of different genes. It is known that CSA is bound almost exclusively to lipoproteins in plasma, however, the relationship between the low density lipoprotein (LDL), the LDL receptor, and CSA has not been fully elucidated. The exact mechanism of cellular uptake of CSA is unknown, but it is believed to be by simple passive diffusion across the cell membrane. In addition, it has been recently shown that the frequent finding of hypercholesterolemia seen in patients treated with CSA can be explained by a CSA-induced effect. The mechanism by which CSA induces hypercholesterolemia is not known. We have used an LDL receptor-deficient animal model, the Watanabe Heritable Hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbit to investigate the role of LDL and the LDL receptor in the cellular uptake of CSA. Using this animal model, we have shown that CSA uptake by lymphocytes is predominantly LDL receptor-mediated. Chemical modification of apoB-100 on LDL particles abolishes their ability to bind to the LDL receptor. When CSA is incubated with modified LDL much less is taken-up than when native LDL is incubated with CSA. Treatment of two human cell lines with CSA results in a dose-dependent decrease in LDL receptor mRNA levels. Using a novel transfection system involving the 5$\sp\prime$-flanking region of the LDL receptor gene, we have found that CSA decreases the number of transcripts, but is dependent on whether or not cholesterol is present and the stage of growth of the cells.

Subject Area

Pharmacology|Molecular biology|Biochemistry

Recommended Citation

Scott, Robert Churchill, "Interactions between cyclosporin A, low-density lipoprotein and the low-density lipoprotein receptor" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9607299.