Lipopolysaccharide is cleared from the circulation by hepatocytes via the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor

TitleLipopolysaccharide is cleared from the circulation by hepatocytes via the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsTopchiy, E, Cirstea, M, Kong, HJ, Boyd, JH, Wang, Y, Russell, JA, Walley, KR
JournalPLoS One
Date Published05/2016

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in critically ill patients. While decreased Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin type 9 (PCSK9) function improves clinical outcomes in murine and human sepsis, the mechanisms involved have not been fully elucidated. We tested the hypothesis that lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major Gram-negative bacteria endotoxin, is cleared from the circulation by hepatocyte Low Density Lipoprotein Receptors (LDLR)-receptors downregulated by PCSK9. We directly visualized LPS uptake and found that LPS is rapidly taken up by hepatocytes into the cell periphery. Over the course of 4 hours LPS is transported towards the cell center. We next found that clearance of injected LPS from the blood was reduced substantially in Ldlr knockout (Ldlr-/-) mice compared to wild type controls and, simultaneously, hepatic uptake of LPS was also reduced in Ldlr-/- mice. Specifically examining the role of hepatocytes, we further found that primary hepatocytes isolated from Ldlr-/- mice had greatly decreased LPS uptake. In the HepG2 immortalized human hepatocyte cell line, LDLR silencing similarly resulted in decreased LPS uptake. PCSK9 treatment reduces LDLR density on hepatocytes and, therefore, was another independent strategy to test our hypothesis. Incubation with PCSK9 reduced LPS uptake by hepatocytes. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that hepatocytes clear LPS from the circulation via the LDLR and PCSK9 regulates LPS clearance from the circulation during sepsis by downregulation of hepatic LDLR.