British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103:473-478 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2009

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Molecular Nutrition

The probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus reduces cholesterol absorption through the down-regulation of Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 in Caco-2 cells

Ying Huanga1 and Yongchen Zhenga1 c1

a1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Second Clinical Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130041, PR China
Article author query
huang y [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
zheng y [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Elevated blood cholesterol is an important risk factor associated with atherosclerosis and CHD. The search for mediators that fine tune cholesterol homeostasis has recognised probiotics as being potentially beneficial. Here, we present data describing bacterial regulation of Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1), which, when weakly expressed, results in a marked reduction in intestinal absorption of cholesterol. The probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356 reduced NPC1L1 gene expression and inhibited the cellular uptake of micellar cholesterol in Caco-2 cells. Soluble effector molecules secreted by ATCC 4356 were shown to be responsible for the decrease in NPC1L1. Furthermore, ATCC 4356 mediated this effect partly through the liver X receptors (LXR). The role of NPC1L1 and the LXR in cholesterol metabolism underscores the basis for the use of probiotics, such as ATCC 4356, in managing hypercholesterolaemia.

(Received April 23 2009)

(Revised July 13 2009)

(Accepted August 10 2009)

(Online publication October 09 2009)

Key Words:Lactobacillus acidophilus; Cholesterol absorption; Niemann-Pick C1-like 1


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Yongchen Zheng, fax +86 431 85312992, email


Abbreviations: LXR, liver X receptors; L.4356, Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356; NPC1L1, Niemann-Pick C1-like 1; siRNA, short interfering RNA