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Microbiota prevents cholesterol loss from the body by regulating host gene expression in mice.

ABSTRACT: We have previously observed that knockout of Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), a cholesterol transporter essential for intestinal cholesterol absorption, reduces the output of dry stool in mice. As the food intake remains unaltered in NPC1L1-knockout (L1-KO) mice, we hypothesized that NPC1L1 deficiency may alter the gut microbiome to reduce stool output. Consistently, here we demonstrate that the phyla of fecal microbiota differ substantially between L1-KO mice and their wild-type controls. Germ-free (GF) mice have reduced stool output. Inhibition of NPC1L1 by its inhibitor ezetimibe reduces stool output in specific pathogen-free (SPF), but not GF mice. In addition, we show that GF versus SPF mice have reduced intestinal absorption and increased fecal excretion of cholesterol, particularly after treatment with ezetimibe. This negative balance of cholesterol in GF mice is associated with reduced plasma and hepatic cholesterol, and likely caused by reduced expression of NPC1L1 and increased expression of ABCG5 and ABCG8 in small intestine. Expression levels of other genes in intestine and liver largely reflect a state of cholesterol depletion and a decrease in intestinal sensing of bile acids. Altogether, our findings reveal a broad role of microbiota in regulating whole-body cholesterol homeostasis and its response to a cholesterol-lowering drug, ezetimibe.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4444975 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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