Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Farnesoid X receptor agonists attenuate colonic epithelial secretory function and prevent experimental diarrhoea in vivo.

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Version 2 2021-11-29, 12:27
Version 1 2019-11-22, 16:38
journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-29, 12:27 authored by Magdalena S. Mroz, Niamh Keating, Joseph B. Ward, Rafiquel Sarker, Silvie Amu, Gabriella Aviello, Mark Donowitz, Padraic G. Fallon, Stephen KeelyStephen Keely

OBJECTIVE: Bile acids are important regulators of intestinal physiology, and the nuclear bile acid receptor, farnesoid X receptor (FXR), is emerging as a promising therapeutic target for several intestinal disorders. Here, we investigated a role for FXR in regulating intestinal fluid and electrolyte transport and the potential for FXR agonists in treating diarrhoeal diseases.

DESIGN: Electrogenic ion transport was measured as changes in short-circuit current across voltage-clamped T84 cell monolayers or mouse tissues in Ussing chambers. NHE3 activity was measured as BCECF fluorescence in Caco-2 cells. Protein expression was measured by immunoblotting and cell surface biotinylation. Antidiarrhoeal efficacy of GW4064 was assessed using two in vivo mouse models: the ovalbumin-induced diarrhoea model and cholera toxin (CTX)-induced intestinal fluid accumulation.

RESULTS: GW4064 (5 μmol/L; 24 h), a specific FXR agonist, induced nuclear translocation of the receptor in T84 cells and attenuated Cl(-) secretory responses to both Ca(2+) and cAMP-dependent agonists. GW4064 also prevented agonist-induced inhibition of NHE3 in Caco-2 cells. In mice, intraperitoneal administration of GW4064 (50 mg/mL) also inhibited Ca(2+) and cAMP-dependent secretory responses across ex vivo colonic tissues and prevented ovalbumin-induced diarrhoea and CTX-induced intestinal fluid accumulation in vivo. At the molecular level, FXR activation attenuated apical Cl(-) currents by inhibiting expression of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator channels and inhibited basolateral Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity without altering expression of the protein.

CONCLUSIONS: These data reveal a novel antisecretory role for the FXR in colonic epithelial cells and suggest that FXR agonists have excellent potential for development as a new class of antidiarrheal drugs.


Principal Investigator and TIDA Awards from Science Foundation Ireland to SJK, National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform, Ireland.



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Mroz, MS, Keating N, Ward JB, Sarker R, Amu S, Aviello G, Donowitz M, Fallon PG, Keely SJ. Farnesoid X receptor agonists attenuate colonic epithelial secretory function and prevent experimental diarrhoea in vivo. Gut. 2014;63(5):808-17

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  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Molecular Medicine