Background & aims: Conversion into bile acids represents an important route to remove excess cholesterol from the body. Rev-erbalpha is a nuclear receptor that participates as one of the clock genes in the control of circadian rhythmicity and plays a regulatory role in lipid metabolism and adipogenesis. Here, we investigate a potential role for Rev-erbalpha in the control of bile acid metabolism via the regulation of the neutral bile acid synthesis pathway.
Methods: Bile acid synthesis and CYP7A1 gene expression were studied in vitro and in vivo in mice deficient for or over expressing Rev-erbalpha.
Results: Rev-erbalpha-deficient mice display a lower synthesis rate and an impaired excretion of bile acids into the bile and feces. Expression of CYP7A1, the rate-limiting enzyme of the neutral pathway, is decreased in livers of Rev-erbalpha-deficient mice, whereas adenovirus-mediated hepatic Rev-erbalpha overexpression induces its expression. Moreover, bile acid feeding resulted in a more pronounced suppression of hepatic CYP7A1 expression in Rev-erbalpha-deficient mice. Hepatic expression of E4BP4 and the orphan nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP), both negative regulators of CYP7A1 expression, is increased in Rev-erbalpha-deficient mice. Promoter analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that SHP and E4BP4 are direct Rev-erbalpha target genes. Finally, the circadian rhythms of liver CYP7A1, SHP, and E4BP4 messenger RNA levels were perturbed in Rev-erbalpha-deficient mice.
Conclusions: These data identify a role for Rev-erbalpha in the regulatory loop of bile acid synthesis, likely acting by regulating both hepatic SHP and E4BP4 expression.