Upregulated expression of human cathelicidin LL-37 in hypercholesterolemia and its relationship with serum lipid levels

  • Yun-Xi Li
  • Bao-Zhen Li
  • Da-Zun Yan


Dyslipidemia in patients with hypercholesterolemia has been recently linked to increased human cathelicidin LL-37 (LL-37) serum concentration. We tested a hypothesis that upregulated expression of LL-37 gene in peripheral blood leucocytes is involved in dyslipidemia in patients with hypercholesteremia. Patients with hypercholesterolemia were used in the study. Expression of LL-37 and human glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in peripheral blood leucocytes were quantified by real-time RT-PCR. Serum LL-37 concentration was estimated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Serum lipid levels were assessed by absorptiometry in all cases. Patients with hypercholesterolemia as compared to control ones were characterized by (a) an up-regulation of LL-37 gene expression in peripheral blood leucocytes with parallel increase of serum LL-37 concentration and (b) an increase of serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. Patients with hypercholesterolemia after a treatment with atorvastatin calcium 20 mg daily as compared to that patients before the treatment: an down-regulation of LL-37 gene expression in peripheral blood leucocytes with parallel decrease of serum LL-37 concentration. We also found significant correlation between serum LL-37 and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (r = 0.7290, P < 0.0001). The results suggest that hypercholesterolemia is associated with an increased LL-37 gene expression in peripheral blood leucocytes. The correlation between serum LL-37 and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels suggests that LL-37 may play a key role in regulation of cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemia.


Human cathelicidin LL-37 Gene expression Hypercholesteremia Blood lipid indexes 



This study was supported by the Technological Bureau of Zhongshan, Guangdong, China [Grants Number 2015B1158].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Volunteer adults were recruited from Guangdong Medical University Affiliated Zhongshan Hospital with the informed consent of the individuals after permission by the ethical committees of Guangdong Medical University Affiliated Zhongshan Hospital, Zhongshan, China.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical LaboratoryGuangdong Medical University Affiliated Zhongshan HospitalXiaolanChina
  2. 2.Department of Clinical LaboratoryGuangdong Medical UniversityZhanjiangChina

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