A novel bile acid analog, A17, ameliorated non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in high-fat diet-fed hamsters

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2020 Oct 1;404:115169. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2020.115169. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


Being endocrine signaling molecules that regulate lipid metabolism and affect energy balance, bile acids are potential drug candidates for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Obeticholic acid (OCA) could improve NASH accompanied by significant side effects. Therefore, it is worthwhile to develop safer and more effective bile acid analogs. In this study, a new bile acid analog A17 was synthesized and its potential anti-NASH effects were assessed in vitro and in vivo. The impact of A17 on steatosis was investigated in the rat primary hepatocytes challenged with oleic acid. It was found that A17 alleviated lipid accumulation by reducing fatty acid (FA) uptake and promoting FA oxidation. The reduction of FA uptake came from inhibiting fatty acid translocase (Cd36) expression. The promotion of FA oxidation came from stimulating the phosphorylation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase alpha (AMPKα). In addition, A17 reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in Raw264.7 cells by activating Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5). In in vivo study, male Golden Syrian hamsters were fed with high fat (HF) diet and then treated with 50 mg/kg/d A17 for 6 weeks. A17 lowered the lipid profiles and liver enzyme levels in serum and improved liver pathological conditions with less side effects compared with OCA. Further studies confirmed that the molecular mechanisms of A17 in vivo were similar to those in vitro. In conclusion, a novel bile acid analog A17 was identified to ameliorate NASH in HF-fed hamsters. The potential mechanisms could be contributed to reducing FA uptake, stimulating FA oxidation and relieving inflammation.

Keywords: AMPKα; Bile acid analog; Cd36; NASH; TGR5.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / pharmacology*
  • CD36 Antigens / genetics
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cricetinae
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / chemically induced*
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • CD36 Antigens
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • farnesoid X-activated receptor