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J Biol Chem. 2003 Nov 7;278(45):44475-81. Epub 2003 Aug 21.

Resistance of SHP-null mice to bile acid-induced liver damage.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The orphan nuclear hormone receptor SHP (gene designation NROB2) is an important component of a negative regulatory cascade by which high levels of bile acids repress bile acid biosynthesis. Short term studies in SHP null animals confirm this function and also reveal the existence of additional pathways for bile acid negative feedback regulation. We have used long term dietary treatments to test the role of SHP in response to chronic elevation of bile acids, cholesterol, or both. In contrast to the increased sensitivity predicted from the loss of negative feedback regulation, the SHP null mice were relatively resistant to the hepatotoxicity associated with a diet containing 0.5% cholic acid and the much more severe effects of a diet containing both 0.5% cholic acid and 2% cholesterol. This was associated with decreased hepatic accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the SHP null mice. There were also alterations in the expression of a number of genes involved in cholesterol and bile acid homeostasis, notably cholesterol 12alpha-hydroxylase (CYP8B1), which was strongly reexpressed in the SHP null mice, but not the wild type mice fed either bile acid containing diet. This contrasts with the strong repression of CYP8B1 observed with short term bile acid feeding, as well as the effects of long term feeding on other bile acid biosynthetic enzymes such as cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1). CYP8B1 expression could contribute to the decreased toxicity of the chronic bile acid treatment by increasing the hydrophilicity of the bile acid pool. These results identify an unexpected role for SHP in hepatotoxicity and suggest new approaches to modulating effects of chronically elevated bile acids in cholestasis.

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