Clinical relevance of the bile acid receptor TGR5 in metabolism

F. Samuel van Nierop, Matthijs J. Scheltema, Hannah M. Eggink, Thijs W. Pols, David P. Sonne, Filip K. Knop, Maarten R. Soeters

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


The bile acid receptor TGR5 (also known as GPBAR1) is a promising target for the development of pharmacological interventions in metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. TGR5 is expressed in many metabolically active tissues, but complex enterohepatic bile acid cycling limits the exposure of some of these tissues to the receptor ligand. Profound interspecies differences in the biology of bile acids and their receptors in different cells and tissues exist. Data from preclinical studies show promising effects of targeting TGR5 on outcomes such as weight loss, glucose metabolism, energy expenditure, and suppression of inflammation. However, clinical studies are scarce. We give a summary of key concepts in bile acid metabolism; outline different downstream effects of TGR5 activation; and review available data on TGR5 activation, with a focus on the translation of preclinical studies into clinically applicable findings. Studies in rodents suggest an important role for Tgr5 in Glp-1 secretion, insulin sensitivity, and energy expenditure. However, evidence of effects on these processes from human studies is less convincing. Ultimately, safe and selective human TGR5 agonists are needed to test the therapeutic potential of TGR5
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-233
JournalLancet. Diabetes and endocrinology
Issue number3
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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