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Activation of CAR and PXR by Dietary, Environmental and Occupational Chemicals Alters Drug Metabolism, Intermediary Metabolism, and Cell Proliferation

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The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and the pregnane X receptor (PXR) are activated by a variety of endogenous and exogenous ligands, such as steroid hormones, bile acids, pharmaceuticals, and environmental, dietary, and occupational chemicals. In turn, they induce phase I-III detoxification enzymes and transporters that help eliminate these chemicals. Because many of the chemicals that activate CAR and PXR are environmentally-relevant (dietary and anthropogenic), studies need to address whether these chemicals or mixtures of these chemicals may increase the susceptibility to adverse drug interactions. In addition, CAR and PXR are involved in hepatic proliferation, intermediary metabolism, and protection from cholestasis. Therefore, activation of CAR and PXR may have a wide variety of implications for personalized medicine through physiological effects on metabolism and cell proliferation; some beneficial and others adverse. Identifying the chemicals that activate these promiscuous nuclear receptors and understanding how these chemicals may act in concert will help us predict adverse drug reactions (ADRs), predict cholestasis and steatosis, and regulate intermediary metabolism. This review summarizes the available data on CAR and PXR, including the environmental chemicals that activate these receptors, the genes they control, and the physiological processes that are perturbed or depend on CAR and PXR action. This knowledge contributes to a foundation that will be necessary to discern interindividual differences in the downstream biological pathways regulated by these key nuclear receptors.

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Keywords: Constitutive androstane receptor; drug targets; gene-environment interaction; orphan nuclear receptors; pregnane X receptor

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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