Environmental Chemical Contribution to the Modulation of Bile Acid Homeostasis and Farnesoid X Receptor Signaling

Drug Metab Dispos. 2022 Apr;50(4):456-467. doi: 10.1124/dmd.121.000388. Epub 2021 Nov 10.


Maintaining bile acid (BA) homeostasis is important and regulated by BA activated receptors and signaling pathways. Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and its regulated target networks in both the liver and the intestines are critical in suppressing BA synthesis and promoting BA transport and enterohepatic circulation. In addition, FXR is critical in regulating lipid metabolism and reducing inflammation, processes critical in the development of cholestasis and fatty liver diseases. BAs are modulated by, but also control, gut microflora. Environmental chemical exposure could affect liver disease development. However, the effects and the mechanisms by which environmental chemicals interact with FXR to affect BA homeostasis are only emerging. In this minireview, our focus is to provide evidence from reports that determine the effects of environmental or therapeutic exposure on altering homeostasis and functions of BAs and FXR. Understanding these effects will help to determine liver disease pathogenesis and provide better prevention and treatment in the future. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Environmental chemical exposure significantly contributes to the development of cholestasis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The impact of exposures on bile acid (BA) signaling and Farnesoid X receptor-mediated gut-liver crosstalk is emerging. However, there is still a huge gap in understanding how these chemicals contribute to the dysregulation of BA homeostasis and how this dysregulation may promote NASH development.

MeSH terms

  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Cholestasis* / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts