Bile acid (BA) transporters are critical for maintenance of the enterohepatic BA circulation where BAs exert their multiple physiological functions including stimulation of bile flow, intestinal absorption of lipophilic nutrients, solubilization and excretion of cholesterol, as well as antimicrobial and metabolic effects. Tight regulation of BA transporters via nuclear receptors is necessary to maintain proper BA homeostasis. Hereditary and acquired defects of BA transporters are involved in the pathogenesis of several hepatobiliary disorders including cholestasis, gallstones, fatty liver disease and liver cancer, but also play a role in intestinal and metabolic disorders beyond the liver. Thus, pharmacological modification of BA transporters and their regulatory nuclear receptors opens novel treatment strategies for a wide range of disorders.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.