Monitoring the itinerary of lysosomal cholesterol in Niemann-Pick Type C1-deficient cells after cyclodextrin treatment

McKenna Feltes, Sarah E. Gale, Samantha Moores, Daniel S. Ory, Jean E. Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) disease is a lipid-storage disorder that is caused by mutations in the genes encoding NPC proteins and results in lysosomal cholesterol accumulation. 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (CD) has been shown to reduce lysosomal cholesterol levels and enhance sterol homeostatic responses, but CD's mechanism of action remains unknown. Recent work provides evidence that CD stimulates lysosomal exocytosis, raising the possibility that lysosomal cholesterol is released in exosomes. However, therapeutic concentrations of CD do not alter total cellular cholesterol, and cholesterol homeostatic responses at the ER are most consistent with increased ER membrane cholesterol. To address these disparate findings, here we used stable isotope labeling to track the movement of lipoprotein cholesterol cargo in response to CD in NPC1-deficient U2OS cells. Although released cholesterol was detectable, it was not associated with extracellular vesicles. Rather, we demonstrate that lysosomal cholesterol trafficks to the plasma membrane (PM), where it exchanges with lipoprotein-bound cholesterol in a CD-dependent manner. We found that in the absence of suitable extracellular cholesterol acceptors, cholesterol exchange is abrogated, cholesterol accumulates in the PM, and reesterification at the ER is increased. These results support a model in which CD promotes intracellular redistribution of lysosomal cholesterol, but not cholesterol exocytosis or efflux, during the restoration of cholesterol homeostatic responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • 2-hydroxpropyl-β-cyclodextrin
  • Cellular homeostasis
  • Drug therapy
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lysosomal storage disorder
  • Stable isotope tracers
  • Trafficking


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