Bile acid homeostasis controls CAR signaling pathways in mouse testis through FXRalpha

Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 9;7:42182. doi: 10.1038/srep42182.


Bile acids (BAs) are molecules with endocrine activities controlling several physiological functions such as immunity, glucose homeostasis, testicular physiology and male fertility. The role of the nuclear BA receptor FXRα in the control of BA homeostasis has been well characterized. The present study shows that testis synthetize BAs. We demonstrate that mice invalidated for the gene encoding FXRα have altered BA homeostasis in both liver and testis. In the absence of FXRα, BA exposure differently alters hepatic and testicular expression of genes involved in BA synthesis. Interestingly, Fxrα-/- males fed a diet supplemented with BAs show alterations of testicular physiology and sperm production. This phenotype was correlated with the altered testicular BA homeostasis and the production of intermediate metabolites of BAs which led to the modulation of CAR signaling pathways within the testis. The role of the CAR signaling pathways within testis was validated using specific CAR agonist (TCPOBOP) and inverse agonist (androstanol) that respectively inhibited or reproduced the phenotype observed in Fxrα-/- males fed BA-diet. These data open interesting perspectives to better define how BA homeostasis contributes to physiological or pathophysiological conditions via the modulation of CAR activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstanols / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / biosynthesis
  • Bile Acids and Salts / genetics*
  • Constitutive Androstane Receptor
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics*
  • Reproduction / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism*


  • Androstanols
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Constitutive Androstane Receptor
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • farnesoid X-activated receptor
  • androstan-3-ol
  • 1,4-bis(2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy))benzene