TITLE

Discovery That Theonellasterol a Marine Sponge Sterol Is a Highly Selective FXR Antagonist That Protects against Liver Injury in Cholestasis

AUTHOR(S)
Renga, Barbara; Mencarelli, Andrea; D'Amore, Claudio; Cipriani, Sabrina; D'Auria, Maria Valeria; Sepe, Valentina; Chini, Maria Giovanna; Monti, Maria Chiara; Bifulco, Giuseppe; Zampella, Angela; Fiorucci, Stefano
PUB. DATE
January 2012
SOURCE
PLoS ONE;Jan2012, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background: The farnesoid-x-receptor (FXR) is a bile acid sensor expressed in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. Despite FXR ligands are under investigation for treatment of cholestasis, a biochemical condition occurring in a number of liver diseases for which available therapies are poorly effective, mice harboring a disrupted FXR are protected against liver injury caused by bile acid overload in rodent models of cholestasis. Theonellasterol is a 4-methylene-24-ethylsteroid isolated from the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Here, we have characterized the activity of this theonellasterol on FXR-regulated genes and biological functions. Principal Findings: Interrogation of HepG2 cells, a human hepatocyte cell line, by microarray analysis and transactivation assay shows that theonellasterol is a selective FXR antagonist, devoid of any agonistic or antagonistic activity on a number of human nuclear receptors including the vitamin D receptor, PPARs, PXR, LXRs, progesterone, estrogen, glucorticoid and thyroid receptors, among others. Exposure of HepG2 cells to theonellasterol antagonizes the effect of natural and synthetic FXR agonists on FXR-regulated genes, including SHP, , BSEP and MRP4. A proof-of-concept study carried out to investigate whether FXR antagonism rescues mice from liver injury caused by the ligation of the common bile duct, a model of obstructive cholestasis, demonstrated that theonellasterol attenuates injury caused by bile duct ligation as measured by assessing serum alanine aminostrasferase levels and extent of liver necrosis at histopathology. Analysis of genes involved in bile acid uptake and excretion by hepatocytes revealed that theonellasterol increases the liver expression of MRP4, a basolateral transporter that is negatively regulated by FXR. Administering bile duct ligated mice with an FXR agonist failed to rescue from liver injury and downregulated the expression of MRP4. Conclusions: FXR antagonism in vivo results in a positive modulation of MRP4 expression in the liver and is a feasible strategy to target obstructive cholestasis.
ACCESSION #
77507653

 

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