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University Medical Center Groningen

New Key Publication: Low production of 12α-hydroxylated bile acids prevents hepatic steatosis in Cyp2c70 -/- mice by reducing fat absorption

11 October 2021


Bile acids (BAs) play important roles in lipid homeostasis and BA signaling pathways serve as therapeutic targets for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Recently, we generated Cyp2c70-/- mice with a human-like BA composition lacking mouse/rat-specific muricholic acids (MCAs) to accelerate translation from mice to humans. We employed this model to assess the consequences of a human-like BA pool on diet-induced obesity and NAFLD development. Male and female Cyp2c70-/- mice and wild-type (WT) littermates were challenged with a 12-week Western-type high-fat diet (WTD) supplemented with 0.25% cholesterol. Cyp2c70-deficiency induced a hydrophobic BA pool with high abundances of chenodeoxycholic acid, particularly in females, due to sex-dependent suppression of sterol 12α-hydroxylase (Cyp8b1). Plasma transaminases were elevated and hepatic fibrosis was present in Cyp2c70-/- mice, especially in females. Surprisingly, female Cyp2c70-/- mice were resistant to WTD-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis while male Cyp2c70-/- mice showed similar adiposity and moderately reduced steatosis compared to WT controls. Both intestinal cholesterol and fatty acid absorption were reduced in Cyp2c70-/- mice, the latter more strongly in females, despite unaffected biliary BA secretion rates. Intriguingly, the biliary ratio 12α-/non-12α-hydroxylated BAs significantly correlated with fatty acid absorption and hepatic triglyceride content as well as with specific changes in gut microbiome composition. The hydrophobic human-like BA pool in Cyp2c70-/- mice prevents WTD-induced obesity in female mice and NAFLD development in both genders, primarily due to impaired intestinal fat absorption. Our data point to a key role for 12α-hydroxylated BAs in control of intestinal fat absorption and modulation of gut microbiome composition.


  • Rumei Li
  • Anna Palmiotti
  • Hilde D. de Vries
  • Milaine V. Hovingh
  • Martijn Koehorst
  • Niels L. Mulder
  • Yue Zhang
  • Kim Kats
  • Vincent W. Bloks
  • Jingyuan Fu
  • Henkjan Verkade
  • Jan Freark de Boer
  • Folkert Kuipers

Read more: Journal of lipid research

Last modified:11 October 2021 2.53 p.m.

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