[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X receptor (FXR, NR1H4) is a ligand-activated transcription factor, belonging to the nuclear receptor superfamily. FXR is highly expressed in the liver and is essential in regulating bile acid homeostasis. FXR deficiency is implicated in numerous liver diseases and mice with modulation of FXR have been used as animal models to study liver physiology and pathology. We have reported genome-wide binding of FXR in mice by chromatin immunoprecipitation - deep sequencing (ChIP-seq), with results indicating that FXR may be involved in regulating diverse pathways in liver. However, limited information exists for the functions of human FXR and the suitability of using murine models to study human FXR functions.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e105930. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 15 (human homologue, FGF19) is an endocrine FGF highly expressed in the small intestine of mice. Emerging evidence suggests that FGF15 is critical for regulating hepatic functions; however, the role of FGF15 in liver regeneration is unclear. This study assessed whether liver regeneration is altered in FGF15 KO mice following 2/3 partial hepatectomy (PHx). The results showed that FGF15 KO mice had marked mortality, with the survival rate influenced by genetic background. Compared to WT mice, the KO mice displayed extensive liver necrosis and marked elevation of serum bile acids and bilirubin. Furthermore, hepatocyte proliferation was reduced in the KO mice due to impaired cell cycle progression. After PHx, the KO mice had weaker activation of signaling pathways that are important for liver regeneration, including STAT3, NF-κB and MAPK. Examination of the KO mice at early time points after PHx revealed a reduced and/or delayed induction of immediate-early response genes, including growth-control transcription factors that are critical for liver regeneration. In conclusion, the results suggest that FGF15 deficiency severely impairs liver regeneration in mice after PHx. The underlying mechanism is likely due to disrupted bile acid homeostasis and impaired priming of hepatocyte proliferation.
AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 04/2014; · 3.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1) is an important regulator of metabolic diseases, however its role in liver function remains elusive. This study unraveled a regulatory cascade involving E2F1, early growth response -1 (Egr-1), nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP, NR0B2), and EIA-like inhibitor of differentiation 1 (EID1) in cholestatic liver fibrosis. Liver E2F1 mRNA and protein expression was strongly upregulated in human nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and alcohol cirrhosis; the latter was inversely correlated with diminished SHP expression. E2F1 was also highly induced by 3, 5- diethoxycarbonyl-1, 4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) feeding and bile-duct ligation (BDL) in mice. E2F1(-/-) mice exhibited reduced biliary fibrosis by DDC as determined by Masson Trichrome and Picro Sirius red staining, and decreased serum bile acid (BA), BA pool size, and fecal BA excretion. In addition, cholestatic liver fibrosis induced by BDL, as determined by immunohistochemistry analysis of a1 collagen expression, was increased in SHP(-/-) mice but attenuated in hepatocyte SHP-overexpressed transgenic (STG) mice. Egr-1 exhibited marked induction in livers of SHP(-/-) mice compared to the wild type mice in both sham and BDL groups, and reduction in STG livers. Egr-1 promoter was activated by E2F1, and the activation was abrogated by expression of SHP and its co-repressor EID1 in hepatoma cells Huh7, Hepa1, and stellate cells LX2. ChIP assays further confirmed the association of E2F1, SHP and EID1 proteins with the Egr-1 promoter, and their direct protein interactions were determined by GST pull-down assays. Interestingly, E2F1 activated Egr-1 expression in a biphasic fashion as described in both human and mouse hepatocytes. Conclusion: E2F1 is a fibrogenic gene and could serve as a potential new diagnostic marker for non-alcoholic and alcoholic liver fibrosis/cirrhosis. (Hepatology 2014;).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background & AimsThere is a growing evidence that bile acids are involved in the regulation of triglyceride-, cholesterol-homoeostasis and fat absorption. In this study organ-specific Fxr knockout mice were used to further investigate the influence of farnesoid X receptor FXR in lipogenesis. Methods
Liver- and intestine-specific Fxr knockout mice were fed a 1% cholesterol diet for 28 days. Histological examination of frozen tissue sections included Sudan III/H&E, BODIPY staining and liver X receptor (LXR) immunohistochemistry. Liver triglycerides, serum cholesterol, serum bile acids and nuclear LXR protein were measured. mRNA expression of several genes involved in bile acid-, cholesterol-homoeostasis and lipogenesis was quantified by real-time PCR. ResultsHepatic FXR deficiency contributes to lipid accumulation under 1% cholesterol administration which is not observed in intestinal Fxr knockout mice. Strong lipid accumulation, characterized by larger vacuoles could be observed in hepatic Fxr knockout sections, while intestinal Fxr knockout mice show no histological difference to controls. In addition, these mice have the ability to maintain normal serum cholesterol and bile acid levels. Hepatic Fxr knockouts were characterized by elevated triglycerides and bile acid levels. Expression level of LXR was significantly elevated under control and 1% cholesterol diet in hepatic Fxr knockout mice and was followed by concomitant lipogenic target gene induction such as Fas and Scd-1. This protective FXR effect against hepatic lipid accumulation was independent of intestinal Fgf15 induction. Conclusion
These results show that the principal site of protective bile acid signalling against lipid accumulation is located in the liver since the absence of hepatic but not intestinal FXR contributes to lipid accumulation under cholesterol diet.
Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 02/2014; · 4.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) is the human ortholog of mouse FGF15, and both proteins function as an endocrine signal to regulate various liver functions. FGF15/FGF19 protein contains two disulfide bonds. It is unfavorable to form disulfide bonds in Escherichia coli (E. coli) cytoplasm because of the bacterial cytoplasmic reducing environment. Modification of the cytoplasmic reducing environment and/or co-expression of protein chaperones are common strategies to express disulfide bond containing proteins in E. coli. In the current study, we report a method to produce soluble FGF15/FGF19 protein in cytoplasm of E. coli. Several commercial available strains with the disruption of thiol-redox pathways, and/or co-expression of redoxase or refolding chaperones were used to develop this novel method for expression of FGF15/FGF19 in E. coli. Mutation of the thiol-disulfide bond reducing pathway in E. coli or N-terminal fusion of thioredox (TRX) alone is not enough to support disulfide bond formation in FGF15/19 proteins. However, TRX fusion protein improved FGF19 solubility in strains of thiol-redox system mutants. In addition, DsbC co-expressed in thiol-redox system mutants alone improved and further enhanced FGF19 solubility with combination of TRX fusion tag. The soluble FGF19 proteins were easily purified through Ni-NTA affinity chromatography and anion exchange chromatography, and the purified protein maintained its biological activities, confirmed by suppressing hepatic Cyp7a1 gene transcription in mice and by activating ERK1/2 signaling pathway in HepG2 cells. In contrast, soluble FGF15 protein in cytoplasm remained very low using these strategies. In summary, we have successfully developed a method to express functional FGF19 protein in prokaryotic cells, and this strategy may be adapted for the expression of other disulfide-containing proteins.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e85890. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retention of bile acids (BAs) in the liver during cholestasis plays an important role in the development of cholestatic liver injury. Several studies have reported that high concentrations of certain BAs induce cell death and inflammatory response in the liver, and BAs may promote liver tumorigenesis. Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is a lysosomal degradation process that regulates organelle and protein homeostasis and serves as a cell survival mechanism under a variety of stress conditions. However, it is not known if BAs modulate autophagy in hepatocytes. In the present study, we determined autophagic flux in livers of farnesoid X receptor (FXR) knockout (KO) mice that have increased concentrations of hepatic BAs and in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes treated with BAs. The results showed that autophagic flux was impaired in livers of FXR KO mice and in BA-treated primary mouse hepatocytes. Mechanistically, BAs did not affect the activities of cathepsin or the proteasome, but impaired autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion likely due to reduction of Rab7 protein expression and targeting to autophagosomes. In conclusion, BAs suppress autophagic flux in hepatocytes by impairing autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion, which may be implicated in bile acid-induced liver tumor promotion observed in FXR KO mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X receptor (FXR, Nr1h4) is a ligand-activated transcription factor belonging to the nuclear receptor superfamily. FXR is essential in maintaining bile acid (BA) homeostasis and FXR(-/-) mice develop cholestasis, inflammation, and spontaneous liver tumors. The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is well-known ro regulate liver growth, and STAT3 is feedback inhibited by its target gene, the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3). Strong activation of STAT3 was detected in FXR(-/-) mouse livers. However, the mechanism of STAT3 activation with FXR deficiency remains elusive.
Wild type and FXR(-/-) mice were used to detect STAT3 pathway activation in the liver. In vivo BA feeding or deprivation was used to determine the role of BAs in STAT3 activation and in vitro molecular approaches were used to determine the direct transcriptional regulation of SOCS3 by FXR.
STAT3 was activated in FXR(-/-) but not WT mice. BA feeding increased, but deprivation by cholestyramine reduced, serum inflammatory markers and STAT3 activation. Furthermore, the Socs3 gene was determined as a direct FXR target gene.
The elevated BAs and inflammation, along with reduced SOCS3, collectively contribute to the activation of the STAT3 signaling pathway in the liver of FXR(-/-) mice. This study suggests that the constitutive activation of STAT3 maybe a mechanism of liver carcinogenesis in FXR(-/-) mice.
AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 10/2013; · 3.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X receptor (FXR, Nr1h4) and small heterodimer partner (SHP, Nr0b2) are nuclear receptors that are critical to liver homeostasis. Induction of SHP serves as a major mechanism of FXR in suppressing gene expression. Both FXR(-/-) and SHP(-/-) mice develop spontaneous hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). SHP is one of the most strongly induced genes by FXR in the liver and is a tumor suppressor, therefore, we hypothesized that deficiency of SHP contributes to HCC development in the livers of FXR(-/-) mice and therefore, increased SHP expression in FXR(-/-) mice reduces liver tumorigenesis. To test this hypothesis, we generated FXR(-/-) mice with overexpression of SHP in hepatocytes (FXR(-/-)/SHP(Tg)) and determined the contribution of SHP in HCC development in FXR(-/-) mice. Hepatocyte-specific SHP overexpression did not affect liver tumor incidence or size in FXR(-/-) mice. However, SHP overexpression led to a lower grade of dysplasia, reduced indicators cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. All tumor-bearing mice had increased serum bile acid levels and IL-6 levels, which was associated with activation of hepatic STAT3. In conclusion, SHP partially protects FXR(-/-) mice from HCC formation by reducing tumor malignancy. However, disrupted bile acid homeostasis by FXR deficiency leads to inflammation and injury, which ultimately results in uncontrolled cell proliferation and tumorigenesis in the liver.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 06/2013; · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a bile acid-activated transcription factor belonging to the nuclear receptor superfamily. FXR deficiency in mice results in cholestasis, metabolic disorders, and tumorigenesis in liver and intestine. FXR is known to contribute to pathogenesis by regulating gene transcription; however, changes in the post-transcriptional modification of proteins associated with FXR modulation have not been determined. In the current study, proteomic analysis of the livers of wild-type (WT) and FXR knockout (FXR-KO) mice treated with a FXR synthetic ligand or vehicle was performed. The results identified five proteins as novel FXR targets. Since FXR deficiency in mice leads to liver tumorigenesis, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase family, member 1 (Parp1) that is important for DNA repair, was validated in the current study by quantitative real-time PCR, and 1- and 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis/western blot. The results showed that Parp1 mRNA levels were not altered by FXR genetic status or by agonist treatment. However, total Parp1 protein levels were increased in FXR-KO mice as early as 3month old. Interestingly, total Parp1 protein levels were increased in WT mice in an age-dependent manner (from 3 to 18months), but not in FXR-KO mice. Finally, activation of FXR in WT mice resulted in reduction of phosporylated Parp1 protein in the liver without affecting total Parp1 protein levels. In conclusion, this study reveals that FXR genetic status and agonist treatment affects basal levels and phosphorylation state of Parp1, respectively. These alterations, in turn, may be associated with the hepatobiliary alterations observed in FXR-KO mice and participate in FXR agonist-induced protection in the liver.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 11/2012; · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article is a report on a symposium sponsored by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and held at the Experimental Biology 12 meeting in San Diego, CA. The presentations discussed the roles of a number of nuclear receptors in regulating glucose and lipid homeostasis, the pathophysiology of obesity-related disease states and the promise associated with targeting their activities to treat these diseases. While many of these receptors, in particular constitutive androstane receptor and pregnane X receptor and their target enzymes have been thought of as regulators of drug and xenobiotic metabolism, this symposium highlighted the advances made in our understanding of the endogenous functions of these receptors. Similarly, the advances made in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying bile acid signaling pathways in the regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis illustrates the importance of using complementary approaches to elucidate this fascinating network of pathways. The observations that some receptors, like the farnesoid X receptor can function in a tissue specific manner via well defined mechanisms has important clinical implications particularly in the treatment of liver diseases. Finally, the novel findings that agents that selectively activate estrogen receptor β can effectively inhibit weight gain in a high-fat diet model of obesity identifies a new role for this member of the steroid superfamily. Taken together, this symposium has revealed a number of significant findings that illustrate the promise associated with targeting a number of nuclear receptors for the development of new therapies to treat obesity and other metabolic disorders.
Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals 10/2012; · 3.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and is a ligand-activated transcription factor essential for maintaining liver and intestinal homeostasis. FXR is protective against carcinogenesis and inflammation in liver and intestine as demonstrated by the development of inflammation and tumors in the liver and intestine of FXR knock-out mice. However, mechanisms for the protective effects of FXR are not completely understood. This study reports a novel role of FXR in regulating expression of Sqstm1, which encodes for p62 protein. p62 plays an important role in maintaining cellular homeostasis through selective autophagy and activating signal transduction pathways, such as NF-κB to support cell survival and caspase-8 to initiate apoptosis. FXR regulation of Sqstm1 may serve as a protective mechanism.
This study showed that FXR bound to the Sqstm1 gene in both mouse livers and ileums as determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation. In addition, FXR activation enhanced transcriptional activation of Sqstm1 in vitro. However, wild-type mice treated with GW4064, a synthetic FXR ligand, showed that FXR activation induced mRNA and protein expression of Sqstm1/p62 in ileum, but not in liver. Interestingly, FXR-transgenic mice showed induced mRNA expression of Sqstm1 in both liver and ileum compared to wild-type mice.
Our current study has identified a novel role of FXR in regulating the expression of p62, a key factor in protein degradation and cell signaling. Regulation of p62 by FXR indicates tissue-specific and gene-dosage effects. Furthermore, FXR-mediated induction of p62 may implicate a protective mechanism of FXR.
PLoS ONE 08/2012; 7(8):e43961. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR), the primary bile acid-sensing nuclear receptor, also plays a role in stimulation of liver regeneration. Whole body deletion of FXR results in significant inhibition of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PHX). FXR is expressed in liver and intestine and recent ChIP-seq analysis indicates that FXR regulates distinct set of genes in a tissue-specific manner. These data raise the question about relative contribution of hepatic and intestinal FXR in regulation of liver regeneration. We studied liver regeneration after PHX in hepatocyte-specific FXR knockout (hepFXR-KO) mice over a time course of 0 to 14 days. Whereas the overall kinetics of liver regrowth in hepFXR-KO mice was unaffected, a delay in peak hepatocyte proliferation from day 2 to day 3 after PHX was observed in the hepFXR-KO mice as compared to Cre(-) control mice. Real Time PCR, Western blot and co-IP studies revealed decreased Cyclin D1 expression and decreased association of Cyclin D1 with CDK4 in hepFXR-KO mice after PHX, correlating with decreased phosphorylation of pRb and delayed cell proliferation in the hepFXR-KO livers. The hepFXR-KO mice also exhibited delay in acute hepatic fat accumulation following PHX, which is associated with regulation of cell cycle. Further, a significant delay in HGF-initiated signaling, including AKT, c-myc and ERK-1/2 pathways, was observed in hepFXR-KO mice. UPLC-mass spectroscopy analysis of hepatic bile acids indicated no difference in levels of bile acids in hepFXR-KO and control mice. In Conclusion, deletion of hepatic FXR did not completely inhibit but delays liver regeneration after PHX secondary to delayed Cyclin D1 activation. (Hepatology 2012.).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a nuclear receptor and a key regulator of liver cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis. Scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) is critical for reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) by transporting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) into liver. FXR induces SR-BI, however, the underlying molecular mechanism of this induction is not known. The current study confirmed induction of SR-BI mRNA by activated FXR in mouse livers, a human hepatoma cell line, and primary human hepatocytes. Genome-wide FXR binding analysis in mouse livers identified 4 putative FXR response elements in the form of inverse repeat separated by one nucleotide (IR1) at the first intron and 1 IR1 at the downstream of the mouse Sr-bi gene. ChIP-qPCR analysis revealed FXR binding to only the intronic IR1s, but not the downstream one. Luciferase assays and site-directed mutagenesis further showed that 3 out of 4 IR1s were able to activate gene transcription. A 16-week high-fat diet (HFD) feeding in mice increased hepatic Sr-bi gene expression in a FXR-dependent manner. In addition, FXR bound to the 3 bona fide IR1s in vivo, which was increased following HFD feeding. Serum total and HDL cholesterol levels were increased in FXR knockout mice fed the HFD, compared to wild-type mice. In conclusion, the Sr-bi/SR-BI gene is confirmed as a FXR target gene in both mice and humans, and at least in mice, induction of Sr-bi by FXR is via binding to intronic IR1s. This study suggests that FXR may serve as a promising molecular target for increasing reverse cholesterol transport.
PLoS ONE 04/2012; 7(4):e35895. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that feeding a high-fat diet (HFD) to rodents affects the expression of genes involved in drug transport. However, gender-specific effects of HFD on drug transport are not known. The multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (Mrp2, Abcc2) is a transporter highly expressed in the hepatocyte canalicular membrane and is important for biliary excretion of glutathione-conjugated chemicals. The current study showed that hepatic Mrp2 expression was reduced by HFD feeding only in female, but not male, C57BL/6J mice. In order to determine whether down-regulation of Mrp2 in female mice altered chemical disposition and toxicity, the biliary excretion and hepatotoxicity of the Mrp2 substrate, α-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT), were assessed in male and female mice fed control diet or HFD for 4weeks. ANIT-induced biliary injury is a commonly used model of experimental cholestasis and has been shown to be dependent upon Mrp2-mediated efflux of an ANIT glutathione conjugate that selectively injures biliary epithelial cells. Interestingly, HFD feeding significantly reduced early-phase biliary ANIT excretion in female mice and largely protected against ANIT-induced liver injury. In summary, the current study showed that, at least in mice, HFD feeding can differentially regulate Mrp2 expression and function and depending upon the chemical exposure may enhance or reduce susceptibility to toxicity. Taken together, these data provide a novel interaction between diet and gender in regulating hepatobiliary excretion and susceptibility to injury.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 04/2012; 261(2):189-95. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of farnesoid X receptor (Fxr, Nr1h4) is a major mechanism in suppressing bile-acid synthesis by reducing the expression levels of genes encoding key bile-acid synthetic enzymes (e.g., cytochrome P450 [CYP]7A1/Cyp7a1 and CYP8B1/Cyp8b1). FXR-mediated induction of hepatic small heterodimer partner (SHP/Shp, Nr0b2) and intestinal fibroblast growth factor 15 (Fgf15; FGF19 in humans) has been shown to be responsible for this suppression. However, the exact contribution of Shp/Fgf15 to this suppression, and the associated cell-signaling pathway, is unclear. By using novel genetically modified mice, the current study showed that the intestinal Fxr/Fgf15 pathway was critical for suppressing both Cyp7a1 and Cyp8b1 gene expression, but the liver Fxr/Shp pathway was important for suppressing Cyp8b1 gene expression and had a minor role in suppressing Cyp7a1 gene expression. Furthermore, in vivo administration of Fgf15 protein to mice led to a strong activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and, to a smaller degree, Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in the liver. In addition, deficiency of either the ERK or JNK pathway in mouse livers reduced the basal, but not the Fgf15-mediated, suppression of Cyp7a1 and Cyp8b1 gene expression. However, deficiency of both ERK and JNK pathways prevented Fgf15-mediated suppression of Cyp7a1 and Cyp8b1 gene expression. CONCLUSION: The current study clearly elucidates the underlying molecular mechanism of hepatic versus intestinal Fxr in regulating the expression of genes critical for bile-acid synthesis and hydrophobicity in the liver.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factor 15 (Fgf15) is the mouse orthologue of human FGF19. Fgf15 is highly expressed in the ileum and functions as an endocrine signal to regulate liver function, including bile acid synthesis, hepatocyte proliferation and insulin sensitivity. In order to fully understand the function of Fgf15, methods are needed to produce pure Fgf15 protein in the prokaryotic system. However, when expressed in Escherichia coli (E. coli), the recombinant Fgf15 protein was insoluble and found only in inclusion bodies. In the current study, we report a method to produce recombinant Fgf15 protein in E. coli through the use of small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) fusion tag. Even though the SUMO has been shown to strongly improve protein solubility and expression levels, our studies suggest that the SUMO does not improve Fgf15 protein solubility. Instead, proper refolding of Fgf15 protein was achieved when Fgf15 was expressed as a partner protein of the fusion tag SUMO, followed by in vitro dialysis refolding. After refolding, the N-terminal SUMO tag was cleaved from the recombinant Fgf15 fusion protein by ScUlp1 (Ubiquitin-Like Protein-Specific Protease 1 from S. cerevisiae). With or without the SUMO tag, the refolded Fgf15 protein was biologically active, as revealed by its ability to reduce hepatic Cyp7a1 mRNA levels in mice. In addition, recombinant Fgf15 protein suppressed Cyp7a1 mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner. In summary, we have developed a successful method to express functional Fgf15 protein in prokaryotic cells.
PLoS ONE 05/2011; 6(5):e20307. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We reported previously that mice overexpressing cytochrome P450 7a1 (Cyp7a1; Cyp7a1-tg mice) are protected against high fat diet-induced hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and insulin resistance. Here, we investigated the underlying mechanism of bile acid signaling in maintaining cholesterol homeostasis in Cyp7a1-tg mice. Cyp7a1-tg mice had two-fold higher Cyp7a1 activity and bile acid pool than did wild-type mice. Gallbladder bile acid composition changed from predominantly cholic acid (57%) in wild-type to chenodeoxycholic acid (54%) in Cyp7a1-tg mice. Cyp7a1-tg mice had higher biliary and fecal cholesterol and bile acid secretion rates than did wild-type mice. Surprisingly, hepatic de novo cholesterol synthesis was markedly induced in Cyp7a1-tg mice but intestine fractional cholesterol absorption in Cyp7a1-tg mice remained the same as wild-type mice despite the presence of increased intestine bile acids. Interestingly, hepatic but not intestinal expression of several cholesterol (adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette G5/G8 [ABCG5/G8], scavenger receptor class B, member 1) and bile acid (ABCB11) transporters were significantly induced in Cyp7a1-tg mice. Treatment of mouse or human hepatocytes with a farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist GW4064 or bile acids induced hepatic Abcg5/g8 expression. A functional FXR binding site was identified in the Abcg5 gene promoter. Study of tissue-specific Fxr knockout mice demonstrated that loss of the Fxr gene in the liver attenuated bile acid induction of hepatic Abcg5/g8 and gallbladder cholesterol content, suggesting a role of FXR in the regulation of cholesterol transport. CONCLUSION: This study revealed a new mechanism by which increased Cyp7a1 activity expands the hydrophobic bile acid pool, stimulating hepatic cholesterol synthesis and biliary cholesterol secretion without increasing intestinal cholesterol absorption. This study demonstrated that Cyp7a1 plays a critical role in maintaining cholesterol homeostasis and underscores the importance of bile acid signaling in regulating overall cholesterol homeostasis.