Orlistat increases arsenite tolerance in THP-1 derived macrophages through the up-regulation of ABCA1

Kaiyan Lou, Ping Huang, Huijuan Ma, Xiaolei Wang, Huan Xu, Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Orlistat is an FDA-approved over-the-counter drug to treat obesity through the inhibition of lipase activity. Macrophages, which express high levels of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), are important phagocytes in the innate immune system. Our previous studies indicated that environmentally relevant concentrations of arsenite (As+3) could inhibit the major immune functions of macrophages. As the down-regulation of LPL is known to increase the expression of ABCA1, the cholesterol exporter demonstrated to be related to the resistance of arsenic toxicity. We examined if orlistat could reverse the inhibitive effects of As+3 on macrophage functions. The results showed that 50 μM orlistat reversed As+3-induced suppressions on phagocytosis, NO production and cytokine secretion in THP-1 derived macrophages. The expression of ABCA1 was significantly increased by orlistat in As+3 co-treated macrophages, which was associated with decreased intracellular As+3 levels. Collectively, these results indicated that orlistat could reverse the suppressive effects induced by As+3 in macrophages through the increased expression of ABCA1, which has the potential to be developed as a therapeutic agent for arsenic-induced immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • ABCA1
  • Orlistat
  • THP-1 derived macrophages
  • arsenic tolerance
  • arsenite
  • intracellular arsenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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