Endogenous bile acids as carcinogens

Peter L. M. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review


Spontaneous development of liver tumors in the absence of the bile acid receptor farnesoid X receptor. Yang F, Huang X, Yi T, Yen Y, Moore DD, Huang W. Farnesoid X receptor (FXR, NR1H4) is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily, which plays an essential role in regulating bile acid, lipid, and glucose homeostasis. Both male and female FXR(-/-) mice spontaneously developed liver tumors; however, no other tumors were developed after 15months of age. In contrast, no liver tumors were observed in wild-type mice of the same age. Histologic analyses confirm that tumors were hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma. Although there was no obvious tumor at ages 9-12months, FXR(-/-) livers displayed prominent liver injury and inflammation. Strong labeling of apoptotic hepatocytes and liver damage-induced compensatory regeneration were observed. Deregulation of genes involved in bile acid homeostasis in FXR(-/-) mice was consistent with abnormal levels of bile acids presented in serum and liver. Genes involved in inflammation and cell cycle were up-regulated in aging FXR(-/-) mice but not in wild-type controls. Increasing the bile acid levels by feeding mice with a 0.2% cholic acid diet strongly promoted N-nitrosodiethylamine-initiated liver tumorigenesis, whereas lowering bile acid pool in FXR(-/-) mice by a 2% cholestyramine feeding significantly reduced the malignant lesions. Our results suggest an intriguing link between metabolic regulation and hepatocarcinogenesis. [Abstract reproduced by permission of Cancer Res 2007;67:863-867] Spontaneous hepatocarcinogenesis in farnesoid X receptor-null mice. Kim I, Morimura K, Shah Y, Yang Q, Ward JM, Gonzalez FJ. The farnesoid X receptor (FXR) controls the synthesis and transport of bile acids (BAs). Mice lacking expression of FXR, designated Fxr-null, have elevated levels of serum and hepatic BAs and an increase in BA pool size. Surprisingly, at 12months of age, male and female Fxr-null mice had a high incidence of degenerative hepatic lesions, altered cell foci and liver tumors including hepatocellular adenoma, carcinoma and hepatocholangiocellular carcinoma, the latter of which is rarely observed in mice. At 3months, Fxr-null mice had increased expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1beta mRNA and elevated beta-catenin and its target gene c-myc. They also had increased cell proliferation as revealed by increased PCNA mRNA and BrdU incorporation. These studies reveal a potential role for FXR and BAs in hepatocarcinogenesis. [Abstract reproduced by permission of Carcinogenesis 2007;28:940-946]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-435
JournalJournal of hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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