Effects of Shosaikoto (Kampo Medicine) on Lipid Metabolism in Macrophages
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We investigated effects of Shosaikoto treatment on cholesterol metabolism in macrophages. Although macrophages, harvested from mice treated with Shosaikoto, took up a small amount of control low density lipoprotein (LDL) (thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBA-RS) value was 0.27 pmol/mg of protein) as control macrophages, they took up more LDL modified with CuSO_4 (TBA-RS value was 6.12 pmol/mg of protein) than control macrophages. Degradation of both control LDL and oxidized LDL was enhanced in Shosaikoto treated macophages. In the presence of control LDL or in the absence of LDL, incorporation of [^3H]oleic acid into chlesteryl oleate was significantly reduced in Shosaikoto treated macrophages. This suggests that acyl-coenzyme A : cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activity in macrophages was partly inhibited by Shosaikoto treatment. On the other hand, in the present of oxidized LDL, cholesteryl ester accumulated in Shosaikoto treated macrophages as much as in controls. However, cholesteryl oleate efflux from macrophages in the presence of high density lipoprotein (HDL) was enhanced in Shosaikoto treated macrophages. These result indicate that Shosaikoto facilitates oxidized LDL catabolism in macrophages, resulting in the augmentation of oxidized LDL uptake and the elimination of cholesterol from macrophages by HDL. These Shosaikoto effects may prevent foam cell formation and the progression of atherosclerotic lesions.