The rates of high density lipoprotein HDL uptake and cholesterol synthesis were compared in the normocholesterolaemic (SW) and genetically hypercholesterolaemic (RICO) rat intestine. The RICO rat has a hyperintestinal cholesterol synthesis. 14C sucrose, a marker which becomes irreversibly entrapped within the cells, was used to measure total rat HDL uptake over 24 hours in the various cells of the small intestinal mucosa. The rates of sterol synthesis were estimated in vivo with 1-14C acetate, as previously validated. The rates of HDL uptake in the upper villus cells were similar along the length of the small intestine in both types of rat, but the rates of sterol synthesis varied up to eightfold. When the mucosal epithelium was divided along the villus/crypt axis, HDL uptake increased two to threefold and cholesterol synthesis two to fivefold in the upper villus compared with the crypt cells in both SW and RICO rats. The high cholesterogenesis in the mucosal cells of the RICO rat is not related to a modified HDL cholesterol uptake. Thus, cholesterol synthesis and HDL uptake seem to be regulated independently in the rat small intestinal mucosa.
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