Blood cholesterol levels have been connected to high-altitude adaptation. In the present study, we treated mice with high-cholesterol diets following exposure to acute hypoxic stress and evaluated the effects of the diets on whole-body, liver glucose, and liver fat metabolism. For rapid cholesterol liver uptake, 6-week-old male C57BL/J6 mice were fed with high-cholesterol/cholic acid (CH) diet for 6 weeks and then were exposed to gradual oxygen level reduction for 1 h and hypoxia at 7% oxygen for additional 1 hour using a hypoxic chamber. Animals were than sacrificed, and metabolic markers were evaluated. Hypoxic treatment had a strong hypoglycemic effect that was completely blunted by CH treatment. Decreases in gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis as well as an increase in ketone body formation were observed. Such changes indicate a metabolic shift from glucose to fat utilization due to activation of the inducible nitric oxide synthase/AMPK axis in the CH-treated animals. Increased ketogenesis was also observed in vitro in hepatocytes after cholesterol treatment. In conclusion, our results show for the first time that cholesterol contributes to metabolic shift and adaptation to hypoxia in vivo and in vitro through induction of HIF-1α and iNOS expression.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Naama Miron and Oren Tirosh.