These studies were carried out in order to examine the relationship between the rate of uptake of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by the liver and the rates of hepatic and extrahepatic cholesterol synthesis and biliary cholesterol content. Female hamsters fed a regular chow diet manifested a rate of hepatic sterol synthesis that was several-fold higher than that in age-matched males maintained on the same diet. Synthesis in the small intestine did not show a corresponding sex difference, but the overall rate in the remaining tissues of the carcass was significantly lower in the females than in the males. Thus, although the proportion of newly synthesized sterol produced by the liver was substantially greater in the females, this was balanced by a smaller contribution from the extrahepatic compartment so that whole-body sterol synthesis was similar in the females and males. Sterol synthesis in the whole animal declined markedly with age in both the females and males, and this was due principally to a reduction in extrahepatic synthesis. Despite the higher rate of hepatic synthesis in females, the rate of uptake of [14C]sucrose-labeled, homologous LDL by the liver was similar in females and males. In males, the adrenal gland transported the labeled LDL at a much higher rate than in females, but in the other extrahepatic tissues the rate of LDL uptake was similar in both groups. The level of cholesterol carried in the various plasma lipoprotein fractions and the relative cholesterol content of gallbladder bile were also similar in females and males. Thus, in this experimental model, the rate of LDL transport by the liver and extrahepatic tissues, the amount of cholesterol carried in plasma lipoproteins and the degree of biliary cholesterol saturation were not directly related to the rates of endogenous hepatic and extrahepatic sterol synthesis. © 1983.
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