Regulation of bile acid and cholesterol metabolism by PPARs

PPAR Res. 2009;2009:501739. doi: 10.1155/2009/501739. Epub 2009 Jul 14.


Bile acids are amphipathic molecules synthesized from cholesterol in the liver. Bile acid synthesis is a major pathway for hepatic cholesterol catabolism. Bile acid synthesis generates bile flow which is important for biliary secretion of free cholesterol, endogenous metabolites, and xenobiotics. Bile acids are biological detergents that facilitate intestinal absorption of lipids and fat-soluble vitamins. Recent studies suggest that bile acids are important metabolic regulators of lipid, glucose, and energy homeostasis. Agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARα, PPARγ, PPARδ) regulate lipoprotein metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, glucose homeostasis and inflammation, and therefore are used as anti-diabetic drugs for treatment of dyslipidemia and insulin insistence. Recent studies have shown that activation of PPARα alters bile acid synthesis, conjugation, and transport, and also cholesterol synthesis, absorption and reverse cholesterol transport. This review will focus on the roles of PPARs in the regulation of pathways in bile acid and cholesterol homeostasis, and the therapeutic implications of using PPAR agonists for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.