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    miR-33 is an intronic microRNA within the gene encoding the SREBP2 transcription factor. Like its host gene, miR-33 has been shown to be an important regulator of lipid metabolism. Inhibition of miR-33 has been shown to promote cholesterol efflux in macrophages by targeting the cholesterol transporter ABCA1, thus reducing atherosclerotic plaque burden. Inhibition of miR-33 has also been shown to improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) biogenesis in the liver and increase circulating HDL-C levels in both rodents and nonhuman primates. However, evaluating the extent to which these changes in HDL metabolism contribute to atherogenesis has been hindered by the obesity and metabolic dysfunction observed in whole-body miR-33-knockout mice. To determine the impact of hepatic miR-33 deficiency on obesity, metabolic function, and atherosclerosis, we have generated a conditional knockout mouse model that lacks miR-33 only in the liver. Characterization of this model demonstrates that loss of miR-33 in the liver does not lead to increased body weight or adiposity. Hepatic miR-33 deficiency actually improves regulation of glucose homeostasis and impedes the development of fibrosis and inflammation. We further demonstrate that hepatic miR-33 deficiency increases circulating HDL-C levels and reverse cholesterol transport capacity in mice fed a chow diet, but these changes are not sufficient to reduce atherosclerotic plaque size under hyperlipidemic conditions. By elucidating the role of miR-33 in the liver and the impact of hepatic miR-33 deficiency on obesity and atherosclerosis, this work will help inform ongoing efforts to develop novel targeted therapies against cardiometabolic diseases.


    Nathan L Price, Xinbo Zhang, Pablo Fernández-Tussy, Abhishek K Singh, Sean A Burnap, Noemi Rotllan, Leigh Goedeke, Jonathan Sun, Alberto Canfrán-Duque, Binod Aryal, Manuel Mayr, Yajaira Suárez, Carlos Fernández-Hernando. Loss of hepatic miR-33 improves metabolic homeostasis and liver function without altering body weight or atherosclerosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2021 Feb 02;118(5)

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    PMID: 33495342

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