U18666A inhibits intracellular cholesterol transport and neurotransmitter release in human neuroblastoma cells

Susan M. Sparrow, Jodi M. Carter, Neale D. Ridgway, Harold W. Cook, David M. Byers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


To determine if neurochemical function might be impaired in cell models with altered cholesterol balance, we studied the effects of U18666A (3-β- [(2-diethyl-amino)ethoxy]androst-5-en-17-one) on intracellular cholesterol metabolism in three human neuroblastoma cell lines (SK-N-SH, SKN-MC, and SH- SY5Y). U18666A (≤0.2 μg/ml)completely inhibited low density lipoprotein (LDL)-stimulated cholesterol esterification in SK-N-SH cells, while cholesterol esterification stimulated by 25-hydroxycholesterol or bacterial sphingomyelinase was unaffected or partially inhibited, respectively. U18666A also blocked LDL-stimulated downregulation of LDL receptor and caused lysosomal accumulation of cholesterol as measured by filipin staining. U18666A treatment for 18 h resulted in 70% inhibition of K+-evoked norepinephrine release in phorboi esterdifferentiated SH-SYSY cells, while reiease stimulated by the calcium ionophore A23187 was only slightly affected. These results suggest that U18666A may preferentially block a voltage-regulated Ca2+ channel involved in norepinephrine release and that alterations in neurotransmitter secretion might be a feature of disorders such as Niemann-Pick Type C, in which intracellular cholesterol transport and distribution are impaired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999



  • Cholesterol
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Niemann-Pick C disease
  • Norepinephrine
  • SH-SY5Y
  • U18666A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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