Sterol metabolism and oral epithelial cell growth

Gretchen B. Caughman, George S. Schuster, Thomas R. Dirksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that as the density of cultured oral epithelial cells increases, there is a concomitant increase in phospholipids and cholesterol ester synthesis and a decrease in that of cholesterol and sterol precursors. Other studies have suggested that the effects of exogenous cholesterol sulfate may be similar to growth responses and influence metabolic steps related to cell density. To further examine this possibility, in the present study lipid synthesis was monitored in hamster cheek pouch epithelial cells in cultures established at different cells densities and in the presence of varying amounts of exogenous cholesterol sulfate. Cell [ 14C]acetate incorporation into lipids was measured in cultures established at four densities ranging from very subconfluent to very dense (postconfluent) in two media, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) with 5% fetal bovine serum and KSFM, a non-serum containing keratinocyte medium. Results indicated that the relative proportion of radiolabel incorporated into different lipid classes changed with cell density. In DMEM, the percentage of radiolabel incorporated into total phospholipids and fatty acids increased significantly with increasing cell density whereas percent incorporation into cholesterol, sterol precursors, and cholesterol esters significantly decreased. In KSFM cultures, proportionate phospholipids labeling was significantly increased in more dense cultures whereas cholesterol and cholesterol esters labeling was significantly decreased. In subconfluent and confluent cultures exposed to 10 or 25 μM cholesterol sulfate, the relative proportions of phospholipid labeling also increased significantly compared to dimethyl sulfoxide (solvent) controls, whereas sterol precursors, fatty acids, and cholesterol esters labeling was signifcantly decreased. These results indicate that cholesterol sulfate can affect cellular lipid synthesis in a manner similar to that which occurs with increasing cell density, and strengthen the hypothesis that cholesterol sulfate may regulate lipid metabolic pathways related to growth and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-698
Number of pages6
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • cell density
  • cholesterol sulfate
  • epithelium
  • lipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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