Phosphatidylcholines as regulators of glucose and lipid homeostasis: Promises and potential risks

Authors

  • Simon Hohenester M.D.,

    1. Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Ulrich Beuers M.D.

    1. Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Nuclear hormone receptors regulate diverse metabolic pathways and the orphan nuclear receptor LRH-1 (also known as NR5A2) regulates bile acid biosynthesis. Structural studies have identified phospholipids as potential LRH-1 ligands, but their functional relevance is unclear. Here we show that an unusual phosphatidyl-choline species with two saturated 12 carbon fatty acid acyl side chains (dilauroyl phosphatidylcholine (DLPC)) is an LRH-1 agonist ligand in vitro. DLPC treatment induces bile acid biosynthetic enzymes in mouse liver, increases bile acid levels, and lowers hepatic triglycerides and serum glucose. DLPC treatment also decreases hepatic steatosis and improves glucose homeostasis in two mouse models of insulin resistance. Both the antidiabetic and lipotropic effects are lost in liver-specific Lrh-1 knockouts. These findings identify an LRH-1 dependent phosphatidylcholine signalling pathway that regulates bile acid metabolism and glucose homeostasis.

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