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Open Access Bile Acid Metabolism in Liver Pathobiology

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Bile acids facilitate intestinal nutrient absorption and biliary cholesterol secretion to maintain bile acid homeostasis, which is essential for protecting liver and other tissues and cells from cholesterol and bile acid toxicity. Bile acid metabolism is tightly regulated by bile acid synthesis in the liver and bile acid biotransformation in the intestine. Bile acids are endogenous ligands that activate a complex network of nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor and membrane G protein-coupled bile acid receptor-1 to regulate hepatic lipid and glucose metabolic homeostasis and energy metabolism. The gut-to-liver axis plays a critical role in the regulation of enterohepatic circulation of bile acids, bile acid pool size, and bile acid composition. Bile acids control gut bacteria overgrowth, and gut bacteria metabolize bile acids to regulate host metabolism. Alteration of bile acid metabolism by high-fat diets, sleep disruption, alcohol, and drugs reshapes gut microbiome and causes dysbiosis, obesity, and metabolic disorders. Gender differences in bile acid metabolism, FXR signaling, and gut microbiota have been linked to higher prevalence of fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in males. Alteration of bile acid homeostasis contributes to cholestatic liver diseases, inflammatory diseases in the digestive system, obesity, and diabetes. Bile acid-activated receptors are potential therapeutic targets for developing drugs to treat metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Bile acid synthesis; Farnesoid X receptor (FXR); Metabolic regulation; Nuclear receptor; Takeda G protein receptor 5 (TGR5)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH, USA

Publication date: May 18, 2018

This article was made available online on January 11, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Bile acid metabolism in liver pathobiology".

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  • Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research will publish articles in all aspects of hepatology. Hepatology, as a research discipline, has seen unprecedented growth especially in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hepatic health and disease, which continues to have a major impact on understanding liver development, stem cells, carcinogenesis, tissue engineering, injury, repair, regeneration, immunology, metabolism, fibrosis, and transplantation. Continued research and improved understanding in these areas will have a meaningful impact on liver disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The existing journal Gene Expression has expanded its focus to become Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research to meet this growing demand. In its revised and expanded scope, the journal will publish high-impact original articles, reviews, short but complete articles, and special articles (editorials, commentaries, opinions) on all aspects of hepatology, making it a unique and invaluable resource for readers interested in this field. The expanded team, led by an Editor-in-Chief who is uniquely qualified and a renowned expert, along with a dynamic and functional editorial board, is determined to make this a premier journal in the field of hepatology.

    From Volume 16, Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.

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