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Increased Expression of the Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor Mediates Lipid Accumulation in Clear-Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

Journal article
Authors Jeanna Perman Sundelin
Marcus Ståhlman
Annika Lundqvist
Max Levin
P. Parini
Martin Johansson
Jan Borén
Published in Plos One
Volume 7
Issue 11
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2012
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.004...
Keywords cholesterol, quantification, metabolism, invivo, rabbit, tissue, light
Subject categories Medical Biotechnology

Abstract

Clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is, in most cases, caused by loss of function of the tumor suppressor gene von Hippel-Lindau, resulting in constitutive activation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 alpha and expression of hypoxia-induced genes in normoxic conditions. Clear-cell RCC cells are characterized histologically by accumulation of cholesterol, mainly in its ester form. The origin of the increased cholesterol remains unclear, but it is likely explained by an HIF-1 alpha-driven imbalance between cholesterol uptake and excretion. Here, we showed that expression of the very low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDL-R) was significantly increased in clear-cell RCC human biopsies compared with normal kidney tissue. Partial knockdown of HIF-1 alpha in clear-cell RCC cells significantly reduced the VLDL-R expression, and knockdown of either HIF-1 alpha or VLDL-R reduced the increased lipid accumulation observed in these cells. We also showed increased uptake of fluorescently labeled lipoproteins in clear-cell RCC cells, which was significantly reduced by knockdown of HIF-1 alpha or VLDL-R. Taken together, our results support the concept that the pathological increase of HIF-1 alpha in clear-cell RCC cells upregulates VLDL-R, which mediates increased uptake and accumulation of lipids. These results explain the morphological characteristics of clear-cell RCC, and open up novel possibilities for detection and treatment of clear-cell RCC.

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