Liver-specific FGFR4 knockdown in mice on an HFD increases bile acid synthesis and improves hepatic steatosis.
<p>Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease with increased risk in patients with metabolic syndrome. There are no FDA-approved treatments, but FXR agonists have shown promising results in clinical studies for NAFLD management. In addition to FXR, fibroblast growth factor receptor FGFR4 is a key mediator of hepatic bile acid synthesis. Using N-acetylgalactosamine-conjugated siRNA, we knocked down FGFR4 specifically in the liver of mice on chow or high-fat diet and in mouse primary hepatocytes to determine the role of FGFR4 in metabolic processes and hepatic steatosis. Liver-specific FGFR4 silencing increased bile acid production and lowered serum cholesterol. Additionally, we found that high-fat diet-induced liver steatosis and insulin resistance improved following FGFR4 knockdown. These improvements were associated with activation of the FXR-FGF15 axis in intestinal cells, but not in hepatocytes. We conclude that targeting FGFR4 in the liver to activate the intestinal FXR-FGF15 axis may be a promising strategy for the treatment of NAFLD and metabolic dysfunction.</p>
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Journal of lipid research