Bile acids and male fertility: From mouse to human?

Mol Aspects Med. 2017 Aug:56:101-109. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2017.05.004. Epub 2017 May 16.


Next to their involvement in digestion, bile acids have been defined as signaling molecules. They have been demonstrated to control many physiological functions among which lipid homeostasis, glucose and energy metabolisms. Bile acids are ligands of several receptors and multiple studies using transgenic mouse models defined the major roles of their respective nuclear and membrane receptors namely the Farnesoid-X-Receptor (FXRα) and the G-protein-coupled bile acid receptor 1(GPBAR1; TGR5). Here we review the reports highlighting the impacts of bile acids on testicular physiology and on male reproductive functions. The studies on mouse models open perspectives to better understand the deleterious effects of bile acids on testicular pathophysiologies and fertility disorders. Additional studies are needed to corroborate these correlations in humans.

Keywords: Bile acids; Male fertility; Signaling pathways; Testis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / chemistry
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Bile Acids and Salts / pharmacology
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / biosynthesis


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • GPBAR1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • farnesoid X-activated receptor
  • Testosterone
  • Glucose