Triparanol [2-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(4-diethylaminoethoxyphenyl)-1-p-tolylethanol] at a concentration of 2 micronm has no effect on the overall conversion of [2=14C]acetate into C27 sterols by isolated liver cells. In the presence of triparanol, however, the formation of radioactive cholesterol is inhibited by 85-90% and the balance of radioactivity appears in the C27 sterol desmosterol (cholesta-5,24-dien-3beta-ol). The very small weights of desmosterol which accumulate under these conditions were, as a routine, quantitatively converted into the heptafluorobutyrate 3-enol ester of cholesta-4,24-dien-3-one. This derivative has a high electron-capturing capability, a property that enables extremely small quantities (less than 0.25pmol) of the material to be accurately measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. Measurements of the mass and specific radioactivity of the newly biosynthesized desmosterol formed in the presence of triparanol provides an accurate assessment of the amount of cholesterol that would be synthesized by the liver cells in the absence of the drug.

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