Evidence that chromium modulates cellular cholesterol homeostasis and ABCA1 functionality impaired by hyperinsulinemia-brief report

Whitney Sealls, Brent A. Penque, Jeffrey S. Elmendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Objective- Trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is an essential micronutrient. Findings since the 1950s suggest that Cr3+ might benefit cholesterol homeostasis. Here we present mechanistic evidence in support of this role of Cr3+. Methods and Results- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol generation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, which are rendered ineffective by the hyperinsulinemia that is known to accompany disorders of lipid metabolism, was corrected by Cr3+. Mechanistically, Cr3+ reversed hyperinsulinemia-induced cellular cholesterol accrual and associated defects in cholesterol transporter ATP-binding cassette transporter-A1 trafficking and apolipoprotein A1-mediated cholesterol efflux. Moreover, direct activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, which is known to be activated by Cr3+, or inhibition of hexosamine biosynthesis pathway activity, which is known to be elevated by hyperinsulinemia, mimics Cr3+ action. Conclusion- These findings suggest a mechanism of Cr3+ action that fits with long-standing claims of its role in cholesterol homeostasis. Furthermore, these data imply a mechanistic basis for the coexistence of dyslipidemia with hyperinsulinemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1140
Number of pages2
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2011



  • ABC transporter
  • apolipoproteins
  • chromium
  • diabetes mellitus
  • lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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