Nuclear receptors, bile acids and cholesterol homeostasis series - Bile acids and pregnancy

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Bile acids have been traditionally thought of as having an important role in fat emulsification. It is now emerging that they act as important signalling molecules that not only autoregulate their own synthesis but also influence lipid and glucose metabolism. Although, the mechanisms that underlie the regulation of bile acid homeostasis have been well characterised in normal physiology, the impact of pregnancy on bile acid regulation is still poorly understood. This review summarises the main regulatory mechanisms underlying bile acid homeostasis and discusses how pregnancy, a unique physiological state, can modify them. The fetoplacental adaptations that protect against fetal bile acid toxicity are reviewed. We highlight the importance of bile acid regulation during gestation by discussing the liver disease of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) and how genetic, endocrine and environmental factors contribute to the disease aetiology at a cellular and molecular level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2013


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