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Review Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2024; 28(2): 107-112

Published online March 1, 2024

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

The role of 27-hydroxycholesterol in meta-inflammation

Yonghae Son1, Eunbeen Choi2, Yujin Hwang2, and Koanhoi Kim1,*

1Department of Pharmacology, 2Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 50612, Korea

Correspondence to:Koanhoi Kim

Author contributions: Y.S., E.C., Y.H., and K.K. drafted the manuscript. Y.S. and K.K. wrote and edited the manuscript.

Received: November 17, 2023; Revised: January 3, 2024; Accepted: January 9, 2024

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


27-Hydroxycholesterol (27OHChol), a prominent cholesterol metabolite present in the bloodstream and peripheral tissues, is a kind of immune oxysterol that elicits immune response. Recent research indicates the involvement of 27OHChol in metabolic inflammation (meta-inflammation) characterized by chronic responses associated with metabolic irregularities. 27OHChol activates monocytic cells such that they secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and increase the expression of cell surface molecules such as pattern-recognition receptors that play key roles in immune cell-cell communication and sensing metabolism-associated danger signals. Levels of 27OHChol increase when cholesterol metabolism is disrupted, and the resulting inflammatory responses can contribute to the development and complications of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular diseases. Since 27OHChol can induce chronic immune response by activating monocyte-macrophage lineage cells that play a crucial role in meta-inflammation, it is essential to understand the 27OHChol-induced inflammatory responses to unravel the roles and mechanisms of action of this cholesterol metabolite in chronic metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis, Meta-inflammation, Monocytes/Macrophages, Obesity, 27-Hydroxycholesterol