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Br J Nutr. 2015 Feb 14;113(3):507-16. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003717. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Effect of a high-fat diet on the hepatic expression of nuclear receptors and their target genes: relevance to drug disposition.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences,Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto,Toronto,ON,CanadaM5S 3M2.
Department of Kinesiology,University of Montreal,QC,Canada.


More than 1·4 billion individuals are overweight or obese worldwide. While complications often require therapeutic intervention, data regarding the impact of obesity on drug disposition are scarce. As the influence of diet-induced obesity on drug transport and metabolic pathways is currently unclear, the objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of high fat feeding for 13 weeks in female Sprague-Dawley rats on the hepatic expression of the nuclear receptors pregnane X receptor (PXR), constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), liver X receptor (LXR) and farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and several of their target genes. We hypothesised that high fat feeding would alter the gene expression of major hepatic transporters through a dysregulation of the expression of the nuclear receptors. The results demonstrated that, along with a significant increase in body fat and weight, a high-fat diet (HFD) induced a significant 2-fold increase in the expression of PXR as well as a 2-, 5- and 2·5-fold increase in the hepatic expression of the PXR target genes Abcc2, Abcb1a and Cyp3a2, respectively (P< 0·05). The expression levels of FXR were significantly increased in rats fed a HFD in addition to the increase in the expression levels of FXR target genes Abcb11 and Abcb4. The expression levels of both LXRα and LXRβ were slightly but significantly increased in rats fed a HFD, and the expression levels of their target genes Abca1 and Abcg5, but not Abcg8, were significantly increased. The expression of the nuclear receptor CAR was not significantly altered between the groups. This suggests that a HFD may induce changes in the hepatobiliary transport and metabolism of endogenous and exogenous compounds.



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