Independent repression of bile acid synthesis and activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) by activated hepatocyte fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) and bile acids.
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The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor complex is a regulator of adult organ homeostasis in addition to its central role in embryonic development and wound healing. FGF receptor 4 (FGFR4) is the sole FGFR receptor kinase that is significantly expressed in mature hepatocytes. Previously, we showed that mice lacking mouse FGFR4 (mR4(-/-)) exhibited elevated fecal bile acids, bile acid pool size, and expression of liver cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), the rate-limiting enzyme for canonical neutral bile acid synthesis. To prove that hepatocyte FGFR4 was a negative regulator of cholesterol metabolism and bile acid synthesis independent of background, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing a constitutively active human FGFR4 (CahR4) in hepatocytes and crossed them with the FGFR4-deficient mice to generate CahR4/mR4(-/-) mice. In mice expressing active FGFR4 in liver, fecal bile acid excretion was 64%, bile acid pool size was 47%, and Cyp7a1 expression was 10-30% of wild-type mice. The repressed level of Cyp7a1 expression was resistant to induction by a high cholesterol diet relative to wild-type mice. Expression of CahR4 in mR4(-/-) mouse livers depressed bile acid synthesis below wild-type levels from the elevated levels observed in mR4(-/-). Levels of phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), which is part of a pathway implicated in bile acid-mediated repression of synthesis, was 30% of wild-type levels in mR4(-/-) livers, whereas CahR4 livers exhibited an average 2-fold increase. However, cholate still strongly induced phospho-JNK in mR4(-/-) livers. These results confirm that hepatocyte FGFR4 regulates bile acid synthesis by repression of Cyp7a1 expression. Hepatocyte FGFR4 may contribute to the repression of bile acid synthesis through JNK signaling but is not required for activation of JNK signaling by bile acids.
author list (cited authors)
Yu, C., Wang, F., Jin, C., Huang, X., & McKeehan, W. L
complete list of authors
Yu, Chundong||Wang, Fen||Jin, Chengliu||Huang, Xinqiang||McKeehan, Wallace L