Scientific reports

BAR502, a dual FXR and GPBAR1 agonist, promotes browning of white adipose tissue and reverses liver steatosis and fibrosis.

PMID 28202906


Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a highly prevalent chronic liver disease. Here, we have investigated whether BAR502, a non-bile acid, steroidal dual ligand for FXR and GPBAR1, reverses steato-hepatitis in mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) and fructose. After 9 week, mice on HFD gained ≈30% of b.w (P < 0.01 versus naïve) and were insulin resistant. These overweighting and insulin resistant mice were randomized to receive HFD or HFD in combination with BAR502. After 18 weeks, HFD mice developed NASH like features with severe steato-hepatitis and fibrosis, increased hepatic content of triacylglycerol and cholesterol and expression of SREPB1c, FAS, ApoC2, PPARα and γ, α-SMA, α1 collagen and MCP1 mRNAs. Treatment with BAR502 caused a ≈10% reduction of b.w., increased insulin sensitivity and circulating levels of HDL, while reduced steatosis, inflammatory and fibrosis scores and liver expression of SREPB1c, FAS, PPARγ, CD36 and CYP7A1 mRNA. BAR502 increased the expression of SHP and ABCG5 in the liver and SHP, FGF15 and GLP1 in intestine. BAR502 promoted the browning of epWAT and reduced liver fibrosis induced by CCl4. In summary, BAR502, a dual FXR and GPBAR1 agonist, protects against liver damage caused by HFD by promoting the browning of adipose tissue.