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Concept: Bile


Modeling clinically relevant tissue responses using cell models poses a significant challenge for drug development, in particular for drug induced liver injury (DILI). This is mainly because existing liver models lack longevity and tissue-level complexity which limits their utility in predictive toxicology. In this study, we established and characterized novel bioprinted human liver tissue mimetics comprised of patient-derived hepatocytes and non-parenchymal cells in a defined architecture. Scaffold-free assembly of different cell types in an in vivo-relevant architecture allowed for histologic analysis that revealed distinct intercellular hepatocyte junctions, CD31+ endothelial networks, and desmin positive, smooth muscle actin negative quiescent stellates. Unlike what was seen in 2D hepatocyte cultures, the tissues maintained levels of ATP, Albumin as well as expression and drug-induced enzyme activity of Cytochrome P450s over 4 weeks in culture. To assess the ability of the 3D liver cultures to model tissue-level DILI, dose responses of Trovafloxacin, a drug whose hepatotoxic potential could not be assessed by standard pre-clinical models, were compared to the structurally related non-toxic drug Levofloxacin. Trovafloxacin induced significant, dose-dependent toxicity at clinically relevant doses (≤ 4uM). Interestingly, Trovafloxacin toxicity was observed without lipopolysaccharide stimulation and in the absence of resident macrophages in contrast to earlier reports. Together, these results demonstrate that 3D bioprinted liver tissues can both effectively model DILI and distinguish between highly related compounds with differential profile. Thus, the combination of patient-derived primary cells with bioprinting technology here for the first time demonstrates superior performance in terms of mimicking human drug response in a known target organ at the tissue level.

Concepts: Glucose, Liver, Glycogen, Actin, Bile, Toxicology, Smooth muscle, Hepatocyte


Organic anion-transporting polypeptides (OATPs) are multispecific transporters mediating the uptake of endogenous compounds and xenobiotics in tissues that are important for drug absorption and elimination, including the intestine and liver. Silymarin is a popular herbal supplement often used by patients with chronic liver disease; higher oral doses than those customarily used (140 mg three times/day) are being evaluated clinically. The present study examined the effect of silymarin flavonolignans on OATP1B1-, OATP1B3-, and OATP2B1-mediated transport in cell lines stably expressing these transporters, and in human hepatocytes. In overexpressing cell lines, OATP1B1- and OATP1B3-mediated estradiol-17β-glucuronide uptake and OATP2B1-mediated estrone-3-sulfate uptake were inhibited by most of the silymarin flavonolignans investigated. OATP1B1-, OATP1B3-, and OATP2B1-mediated substrate transport was inhibited efficiently by silymarin (IC(50) values of 1.3, 2.2 and 0.3 μM, respectively), silybin A (IC(50) values of 9.7, 2.7 and 4.5 μM, respectively), silybin B (IC(50) values of 8.5, 5.0 and 0.8 μM, respectively), and silychristin (IC(50) values of 9.0, 36.4 and 3.6 μM, respectively). Furthermore, silymarin, silybin A and silybin B (100 μM) significantly inhibited OATP-mediated estradiol-17β-glucuronide and rosuvastatin uptake into human hepatocytes. Calculation of the maximal unbound portal vein concentrations/IC(50) values indicated a low risk for silymarin-drug interactions in hepatic uptake with a customary silymarin dose. The extent of silymarin-drug interactions depends on OATP isoform specificity and concentrations of flavonolignans at the site of drug transport. Clinical investigations that achieve higher concentrations with either increased doses of silymarin or formulations with improved bioavailability may enhance the potential risk of DDIs with OATP substrates.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Liver, Glycogen, Bile, Transport, Hepatocyte, Flavonolignan, Silibinin


Bile acid sequestrants (BASs) are cholesterol-lowering drugs that also affect hyperglycemia. The mechanism by which BASs exert these and other metabolic effects beyond cholesterol lowering remains poorly understood. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of a BAS, colestilan, on body weight, energy expenditure, and glucose and lipid metabolism and its mechanisms of action in high-fat-fed hyperlipidemic APOE*3 Leiden (E3L) transgenic mice. Mildly insulin resistant E3L mice were fed a high-fat diet with or without 1.5% colestilan for 8 weeks. Colestilan treatment decreased body weight, visceral and subcutaneous fat, and plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels but increased food intake. Blood glucose and plasma insulin levels were decreased, and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp analysis demonstrated improved insulin sensitivity, particularly in peripheral tissues. In addition, colestilan decreased energy expenditure and physical activity, whereas it increased the respiratory exchange ratio, indicating that colestilan induced carbohydrate catabolism. Moreover, kinetic analysis revealed that colestilan increased [3H]-NEFA incorporation in biliary cholesterol and phospholipids and increased fecal lipid excretion. Gene expression analysis in liver, fat and muscle supported the above findings. In summary, colestilan decreases weight gain and improves peripheral insulin sensitivity in high-fat-fed E3L mice by enhanced NEFA incorporation in biliary lipids and increased fecal lipid excretion.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Metabolism, Nutrition, Insulin, Liver, Triglyceride, Bile, Carbohydrate


It has been known that Arak, Salvadora persica, has a number of medicinal properties. We tried to investigate in vitro scolicidal effect of root extracts of this plant against protoscolices from hydatid cysts of Echinococcus granulosus. Protoscolices were aseptically collected from sheep livers containing hydatid cysts. S. persica root extract was used in 10, 30, and 50 mg/ml concentration for 10, 20, and 30 min. The viability of protoscolices was ascertained by 0.1% eosin staining. Scolicidal activity of S. persica extract at a concentration of 10 mg/ml was 36.3%, 50.3%, and 70.8% after 10, 20, and 30 min of exposure, respectively. The scolicidal effect of this extract at a concentration of 30 mg/ml was 52.9%, 86.7%, and 100% after 10, 20, and 30 min of exposure, respectively. S. persica extract at a concentration of 50 mg/ml, meanwhile, killed 81.4%, 100%, and 100% of protoscolices after 10, 20, and 30 min, respectively. Also, the cytotoxic potential of S. persica was assessed on human liver cells (HepG2) using trypan blue exclusion test. No cytotoxic effect was observed on HepG2 cell line. The present study confirmed for the first time that the ethanolic extract of S. persica has high scolicidal power in vitro. However, in vivo effect of this material remains to be studied for treatment of echinococcosis in humans and herbivorous animals.

Concepts: Liver, In vivo, Glycogen, Bile, In vitro, Peritoneum, Hepatocyte, Salvadora persica


Calorie restriction (CR) remains the most robust intervention to extend lifespan and improve health span. Using a global mass spectrometry-based metabolomic approach, we identified 193 metabolites that were significantly differentially expressed (SDE) in the livers of C57BL/6 mice, fed graded levels of CR (10, 20, 30 and 40% CR) compared to mice fed ad libitum for 12 h a day. The differential expression of metabolites also varied with the different feeding groups. Pathway analysis revealed that graded CR had an impact on carnitine synthesis and the carnitine shuttle pathway, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signalling and methionine metabolism. S1P, sphingomyelin and L-carnitine were negatively correlated with body mass, leptin, insulin-like growth factor- 1 (IGF-1) and major urinary proteins (MUPs). In addition, metabolites which showed a graded effect, such as ceramide, S1P, taurocholic acid and L-carnitine, responded in the opposite direction to previously observed age-related changes. We suggest that the modulation of this set of metabolites may improve liver processes involved in energy release from fatty acids. S1P also negatively correlated with catalase activity and body temperature, and positively correlated with food anticipatory activity. Injecting mice with S1P or an S1P receptor 1 agonist did not precipitate changes in body temperature, physical activity or food intake suggesting that these correlations were not causal relationships.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Protein, Metabolism, Nutrition, Liver, Bile, Methionine, Carnitine


Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) has been used to treat many diseases effectively. 7α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (7α-HSDH) and 7β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (7β-HSDH) are two key enzymes that drive the efficient biosynthesis of TUDCA from taurochenodeoxycholic acid (TCDCA) in vitro. In this study, a metagenomic approach was used to isolate 7α- and 7β-HSDHs from fecal samples of black bears. Five new 7α-HSDHs and one new 7β-HSDH enzyme were discovered and identified from the gut microbiota of black bears, and four of them presented good enzymatic properties. Our data also suggest cooperation in the biotransformation of TUDCA by the gut microbiota in black bears. In conclusion, this work expands the natural enzyme bank of HSDHs, provides promising candidate enzymes for application in the biosynthesis TUDCA and the epimerization reaction of bile acids at the C-7 position, and provides a data set for the discovery of novel enzymes in the gut micriobiome of black bears.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Gut flora, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Bile, PH


It might be possible to manipulate the intestinal microbiota with prebiotics or other agents to prevent or treat obesity. However, little is known about the ability of prebiotics to specifically modify gut microbiota in children with overweight/obesity or reduce body weight. We performed a randomized controlled trial to study the effects of prebiotics on body composition, markers of inflammation, bile acids in fecal samples, and composition of the intestinal microbiota in children with overweight or obesity.

Concepts: Gut flora, Nutrition, Obesity, Digestive system, Bile, Feces, Dieting, Probiotic


The gut microbiota is found to be strongly associated with atherosclerosis (AS). Resveratrol (RSV) is a natural phytoalexin with anti-AS effects; however, its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Therefore, we sought to determine whether the anti-AS effects of RSV were related to changes in the gut microbiota. We found that RSV attenuated trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO)-induced AS in ApoE(-/-)mice. Meanwhile, RSV decreased TMAO levels by inhibiting commensal microbial trimethylamine (TMA) production via gut microbiota remodeling in mice. Moreover, RSV increased levels of the generaLactobacillusandBifidobacterium, which increased the bile salt hydrolase activity, thereby enhancing bile acid (BA) deconjugation and fecal excretion in C57BL/6J and ApoE(-/-)mice. This was associated with a decrease in ileal BA content, repression of the enterohepatic farnesoid X receptor (FXR)-fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF15) axis, and increased cholesterol 7a-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) expression and hepatic BA neosynthesis. An FXR antagonist had the same effect on FGF15 and CYP7A1 expression as RSV, while an FXR agonist abolished RSV-induced alterations in FGF15 and CYP7A1 expression. In mice treated with antibiotics, RSV neither decreased TMAO levels nor increased hepatic BA synthesis. Additionally, RSV-induced inhibition of TMAO-caused AS was also markedly abolished by antibiotics. In conclusion, RSV attenuated TMAO-induced AS by decreasing TMAO levels and increasing hepatic BA neosynthesis via gut microbiota remodeling, and the BA neosynthesis was partially mediated through the enterohepatic FXR-FGF15 axis.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Bacteria, Gut flora, Bile, Bile acid, Steroid, Feces, Farnesoid X receptor


The composite human microbiome of Western populations has probably changed over the past century, brought on by new environmental triggers that often have a negative impact on human health. Here we show that consumption of a diet high in saturated (milk-derived) fat, but not polyunsaturated (safflower oil) fat, changes the conditions for microbial assemblage and promotes the expansion of a low-abundance, sulphite-reducing pathobiont, Bilophila wadsworthia. This was associated with a pro-inflammatory T helper type 1 (T(H)1) immune response and increased incidence of colitis in genetically susceptible Il10(−/−), but not wild-type mice. These effects are mediated by milk-derived-fat-promoted taurine conjugation of hepatic bile acids, which increases the availability of organic sulphur used by sulphite-reducing microorganisms like B. wadsworthia. When mice were fed a low-fat diet supplemented with taurocholic acid, but not with glycocholic acid, for example, a bloom of B. wadsworthia and development of colitis were observed in Il10(−/−) mice. Together these data show that dietary fats, by promoting changes in host bile acid composition, can markedly alter conditions for gut microbial assemblage, resulting in dysbiosis that can perturb immune homeostasis. The data provide a plausible mechanistic basis by which Western-type diets high in certain saturated fats might increase the prevalence of complex immune-mediated diseases like inflammatory bowel disease in genetically susceptible hosts.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Nutrition, Fat, Bile, Bile acid, Saturated fat, Cholic acid


The bipotential differentiation of liver progenitor cells underlies liver development and bile duct formation as well as liver regeneration and disease. TGFβ and Notch signaling are known to play important roles in the liver progenitor specification process and tissue morphogenesis. However, the complexity of these signaling pathways and their currently undefined interactions with other microenvironmental factors, including extracellular matrix (ECM), remain barriers to complete mechanistic understanding. Utilizing a series of strategies, including co-cultures and cellular microarrays, we identified distinct contributions of different Notch ligands and ECM proteins in the fate decisions of bipotential mouse embryonic liver (BMEL) progenitor cells. In particular, we demonstrated a cooperative influence of Jagged-1 and TGFβ1 on cholangiocytic differentiation. We established ECM-specific effects using cellular microarrays consisting of 32 distinct combinations of collagen I, collagen III, collagen IV, fibronectin, and laminin. In addition, we demonstrated that exogenous Jagged-1, Delta-like 1, and Delta-like 4 within the cellular microarray format was sufficient for enhancing cholangiocytic differentiation. Further, by combining Notch ligand microarrays with shRNA-based knockdown of Notch ligands, we systematically examined the effects of both cell-extrinsic and cell-intrinsic ligand. Our results highlight the importance of divergent Notch ligand function and combinatorial microenvironmental regulation in liver progenitor fate specification.

Concepts: Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Developmental biology, Liver, Progenitor cell, Cellular differentiation, Bile, Integrin