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J Lipid Res. 2008 Apr;49(4):763-72. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M700293-JLR200. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

Lithocholic acid derivatives act as selective vitamin D receptor modulators without inducing hypercalcemia.

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  • 1Division of Biochemistry, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Nihon University School of Medicine, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.


1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25(OH)(2)D(3)], a vitamin D receptor (VDR) ligand, regulates calcium homeostasis and also exhibits noncalcemic actions on immunity and cell differentiation. In addition to disorders of bone and calcium metabolism, VDR ligands are potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of immune disorders, microbial infections, and malignancies. Hypercalcemia, the major adverse effect of vitamin D(3) derivatives, limits their clinical application. The secondary bile acid lithocholic acid (LCA) is an additional physiological ligand for VDR, and its synthetic derivative, LCA acetate, is a potent VDR agonist. In this study, we found that an additional derivative, LCA propionate, is a more selective VDR activator than LCA acetate. LCA acetate and LCA propionate induced the expression of the calcium channel transient receptor potential vanilloid type 6 (TRPV6) as effectively as that of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1), whereas 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) was more effective on TRPV6 than on CYP24A1 in intestinal cells. In vivo experiments showed that LCA acetate and LCA propionate effectively induced tissue VDR activation without causing hypercalcemia. These bile acid derivatives have the ability to function as selective VDR modulators.

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