Development of mice with hepatocyte knockout of lanosterol 14α-demethylase (H Cyp51-/-) from cholesterol synthesis is characterized by the progressive onset of liver injury with ductular reaction and fibrosis. These changes begin during puberty and are generally more aggravated in the knockout females. However, a subgroup of (pre)pubertal knockout mice (runts) exhibits a pronounced male prevalent liver dysfunction characterized by downregulated amino acid metabolism and elevated Casp12. RORC transcriptional activity is diminished in livers of all runt mice, in correlation with the depletion of potential RORC ligands subsequent to CYP51 disruption. Further evidence for this comes from the global analysis that identified a crucial overlap between hepatic Cyp51-/- and Rorc-/- expression profiles. Additionally, the reduction in RORA and RORC transcriptional activity was greater in adult H Cyp51-/- females than males, which correlates well with their downregulated amino and fatty acid metabolism. Overall, we identify a global and sex-dependent transcriptional de-regulation due to the block in cholesterol synthesis during development of the Cyp51 knockout mice and provide in vivo evidence that sterol intermediates downstream of lanosterol may regulate the hepatic RORC activity.
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