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New Key Publication: Intestinal Farnesoid X Receptor Modulates Duodenal Surface Area but Does Not Control Glucose Absorption in Mice

18 February 2023

Bile acids facilitate the intestinal absorption of dietary lipids and act as signalling molecules in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a bile acid-responsive nuclear receptor involved in bile acid metabolism, as well as lipid and glucose homeostasis. Several studies have suggested a role of FXR in the control of genes regulating intestinal glucose handling. We applied a novel dual-label glucose kinetic approach in intestine-specific FXR−/− mice (iFXR-KO) to directly assess the role of intestinal FXR in glucose absorption. Although iFXR-KO mice showed decreased duodenal expression of hexokinase 1 (Hk1) under obesogenic conditions, the assessment of glucose fluxes in these mice did not show a role for intestinal FXR in glucose absorption. FXR activation with the specific agonist GS3972 induced Hk1, yet the glucose absorption rate remained unaffected. FXR activation increased the duodenal villus length in mice treated with GS3972, while stem cell proliferation remained unaffected. Accordingly, iFXR-KO mice on either chow, short or long-term HFD feeding displayed a shorter villus length in the duodenum compared to wild-type mice. These findings indicate that delayed glucose absorption reported in whole-body FXR−/− mice is not due to the absence of intestinal FXR. Yet, intestinal FXR does have a role in the small intestinal surface area.


  • Jiufang Yang
  • Theo H. van Dijk
  • Martijn Koehorst
  • Rick Havinga
  • Jan Freark de Boer
  • Folkert Kuipers
  • Tim van Zutphen

Read more: International Journal of Molecular Sciences: Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 4132;

Last modified:21 February 2023 09.23 a.m.

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