Significance and mechanism of CYP7a1 gene regulation during the acute phase of liver regeneration

Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Feb;23(2):137-45. doi: 10.1210/me.2008-0198. Epub 2008 Dec 4.


Cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7a1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the classic pathway of bile acid synthesis. Expression of CYP7a1 is regulated by a negative feedback pathway of bile acid signaling. Previous studies have suggested that bile acid signaling is also required for normal liver regeneration, and CYP7a1 expression is strongly repressed after 70% partial hepatectomy (PH). Both the effect of CYP7a1 suppression on liver regrowth and the mechanism by which 70% PH suppresses CYP7a1 expression are unknown. Here we show that liver-specific overexpression of an exogenous CYP7a1 gene impaired liver regeneration after 70% PH, which was accompanied by increased hepatocyte apoptosis and liver injury. CYP7a1 expression was initially suppressed after 70% PH in an farnesoid X receptor/ small heterodimer partner-independent manner; however, both farnesoid X receptor and small heterodimer partner were required to regulate CYP7a1 expression at the later stage of liver regeneration. c-Jun N-terminus kinase and hepatocyte growth factor signaling pathways are activated during the acute phase of liver regeneration. We determined that hepatocyte growth factor and c-Jun N-terminus kinase pathways were involved in the suppressing of the CYP7a1 expression in the acute phase of live regeneration. Taken together, our results provide the significance that CYP7a1 suppression is required for liver protection after 70% PH and there are two distinct phases of CYP7a1 gene regulation during liver regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase / genetics*
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Hepatectomy
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / physiology
  • Humans
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver Regeneration / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 8 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 8 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Cyp7a1 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 8