Analysis of Low Molecular Weight Substances and Related Processes Influencing Cellular Cholesterol Efflux

  • Dmitry Y. Litvinov
  • Eugeny V. Savushkin
  • Alexander D. DergunovEmail author
Review Article


Cholesterol efflux is the key process protecting the vascular system from the development of atherosclerotic lesions. Various extracellular and intracellular events affect the ability of the cell to efflux excess cholesterol. To explore the possible pathways and processes that promote or inhibit cholesterol efflux, we applied a combined cheminformatic and bioinformatic approach. We performed a comprehensive analysis of published data on the various substances influencing cholesterol efflux and found 153 low molecular weight substances that are included in the Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) database. Pathway enrichment was performed for substances identified within the Reactome database, and 45 substances were selected in 93 significant pathways. The most common pathways included the energy-dependent processes related to active cholesterol transport from the cell, lipoprotein metabolism and lipid transport, and signaling pathways. The activators and inhibitors of cholesterol efflux were non-uniformly distributed among the different pathways: the substances influencing ‘biological oxidations’ activate cholesterol efflux and the substances influencing ‘Signaling by GPCR and PTK6’ inhibit efflux. This analysis may be used in the search and design of efflux effectors for therapies targeting structural and functional high-density lipoprotein deficiency.



acyl-CoA cholesterol acyltransferase


angiotensin-converting enzyme 2


protein kinase B


adenosine monophosphate


AMP-activated protein kinase


apolipoprotein A-I


apolipoprotein A-II


block lipid transport






adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate


CC-chemokine ligand 2




corticotropin-releasing hormone


C-reactive protein


cardiovascular disease


death receptor 3


epidermal growth factor


estrogen receptor


fibroblast growth factor 21


growth differentiation factor-15


glucagon-like peptide 1


glucocorticoid receptor


guanosine triphosphate


high-density lipoprotein


primary human coronary artery endothelial cells

Huh7 cells

human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line


human umbilical vein endothelial cells


human serum albumin


heat shock protein 65




insulin-like growth factor 1




IL-1 receptor

IRAK1 inhibitor

inhibitor of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-1

IRAK4 inhibitor

inhibitor of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-4


Janus kinase




low-density lipoprotein


lipoprotein lipase




mitogen-activated protein


mammalian target of rapamycin


methyl-β-cyclodextrin, hPBMC, mBMDM, MPM; [104]: DPP-4, GLP-1


pregnancy-associated plasma protein A


proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9


phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C


protein kinase A


phospholipid transfer protein


polyunsaturated fatty acid


serine palmitoyltransferase long chain base subunit 1


T-cell receptor


transforming growth factor


tumor necrosis factor


trafficking 18 kDa translocator protein


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding has been received for the conduct of this analysis or the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Dmitry Y. Litvinov, Eugeny V. Savushkin and Alexander D. Dergunov have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

Ethics approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Centre for Preventive MedicineMoscowRussia

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