20 August 2018
Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors. As a metabolic regulator, FXR plays key roles in bile acid and cholesterol metabolism and lipid and glucose homeostasis. Therefore, FXR is a potential drug target for several metabolic syndromes, especially those related to lipidemia disorders. In the present study, we identified small molecule SIPI-7623, a derivative of an extract from Oriental wormwood (Artemisia capillaris), and found that it specifically upregulated the expression of cholesterol-7-alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), downregulated the expression of sterol-regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) in the liver, and inhibited the expression of ileal bile acid binding-protein (IBABP) in the ileum of rats. We found that inhibition of FXR by SIPI-7623 decreased the level of cholesterol and triglyceride. SIPI-7623 reduced the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in in vitro HepG2 cell models, ameliorated diet-induced atherosclerosis, and decreased the serum lipid content on rats and rabbits model of atherosclerosis in vivo. Furthermore, SIPI-7623 decreased the extent of atherosclerotic lesions. Our resutls demonstrated that antagonism of the FXR pathway can be employed as a therapeutic strategy to treat metabolic diseases such as hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. In conclusion, SIPI-7623 could be a promising lead compound for development of drugs to treat hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis.