Cholangiopathy and biliary fibrosis in Cyp2c70-deficient mice are fully reversed by ursodeoxycholic acid

J F de Boer*, H D de Vries, A Palmiotti, R Li, M Doestzada, J A Hoogerland, J Fu, A M La Rose, M Westerterp, N L Mulder, M V Hovingh, M Koehorst, N J Kloosterhuis, J C Wolters, V W Bloks, J T Haas, D Dombrowicz, B Staels, B van de Sluis, F Kuipers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Bile acids (BAs) aid intestinal fat absorption and exert systemic actions by receptor-mediated signaling. BA receptors have been identified as drug targets for liver diseases. Yet, differences in BA metabolism between humans and mice hamper translation of pre-clinical outcomes. Cyp2c70-ablation in mice prevents synthesis of mouse/rat-specific muricholic acids (MCAs), but potential (patho)physiological consequences of their absence are unknown. We therefore assessed age- and gender-dependent effects of Cyp2c70-deficiency in mice.

METHODS: The consequences of Cyp2c70-deficiency were assessed in male and female mice at different ages.

RESULTS: Cyp2c70-/- mice were devoid of MCAs and showed high abundances of chenodeoxycholic and lithocholic acids. Cyp2c70-deficiency profoundly impacted microbiome composition. Bile flow and biliary BA secretion were normal in Cyp2c70-/- mice of both sexes. Yet, the pathophysiological consequences of Cyp2c70-deficiency differed considerably between sexes. Three-week old male Cyp2c70-/- mice showed high plasma BAs and transaminases, which spontaneously decreased thereafter to near-normal levels. Only mild ductular reactions were observed in male Cyp2c70-/- mice up to 8 months of age. In female Cyp2c70-/- mice, plasma BAs and transaminases remained substantially elevated with age, gut barrier function was impaired and bridging fibrosis was observed at advanced age. Addition of 0.1% ursodeoxycholic acid to the diet fully normalized hepatic and intestinal functions in female Cyp2c70-/- mice.

CONCLUSION: Cyp2c70-/- mice show transient neonatal cholestasis and develop cholangiopathic features that progress to bridging fibrosis in females only. These consequences of Cyp2c70-deficiency are restored by treatment with UDCA, indicating a role of BA hydrophobicity in disease development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1069
Number of pages25
JournalCellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology
Issue number4
Early online date10-Dec-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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