Role of TGR5 (GPBAR1) in Liver Disease

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TGR5 (GPBAR1) is a G protein-coupled receptor activated by primary and secondary bile acids, which is expressed in different nonparenchymal cells of the liver, such as sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, cholangiocytes as well as activated hepatic stellate cells. In liver, TGR5 modulates microcirculation, inflammation, regeneration, biliary secretion and proliferation as well as gallbladder filling. Absence of TGR5 renders mice more susceptible toward infectious, inflammatory, metabolic as well as cholestatic liver injuries. It is unknown whether TGR5 plays a role in the pathogenesis of human nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and cholestatic liver diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cholangitis. However, overexpression of TGR5 has been detected in human intra- and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma as well as in cystic cholangiocytes, where the receptor promotes cell proliferation, anti-apoptosis as well as cyst growth. While TGR5 agonists may improve various aspects of metabolic, inflammatory, and cholestatic liver diseases, TGR5 inhibitors may attenuate disease progression in polycystic liver disease and cholangiocarcinoma.

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