- JOURNAL CLINICAL BIOCHEMISTRY & NUTRITION
Secondary bile acids produced by enteric bacteria accumulate to high levels in the enterohepatic circulation and may contribute to the pathogenesis of hepatocellular injury. Relative hydrophobicity has been suggested to be an important determinant of the biological properties of these compounds, although the mechanism by which bile acids induce pathogenesis is not fully understood. On the other hand, endoplasmic reticulum stress has been shown to be involved in the induction and development of various pathogenic conditions. In this report, we demonstrated that the intensities of cytotoxicity and endoplasmic reticulum stress in HepG2 cells triggered by the bile acids tested were largely dependent on their hydrophobicity. The activation of caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation by treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid showed the contribution of apoptosis to cytotoxicity. Increases in intracellular calcium levels and the generation of reactive oxygen species stimulated by treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid contributed to endoplasmic reticulum stress. Bile acids also induced transforming growth factor-beta, a potent profibrogenic factor, which is known to induce hepatocyte apoptosis and ultimately liver fibrosis. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that bile acids induced endoplasmic reticulum stress, which in turn stimulated apoptosis in HepG2 cells, in a hydrophobicity-dependent manner.
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