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      Oleanolic Acid and Ursolic Acid Induce UGT1A1 Expression in HepG2 Cells by Activating PXR Rather Than CAR

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          Background: Oleanolic acid (OA) and its isomer ursolic acid (UA) have recently emerged as research foci based on their biologic activities. We previously demonstrated that UA can inhibit the activities of UGT1A3 and UGT1A4, and OA inhibits UGT1A3 activity in liver microsomes. However, whether OA and UA affect the expression of UGT1As in HepG2 cells and the underlying regulatory mechanism remain unclear.

          Purpose: The present study aimed to explore the effect of OA and UA on the expression of UGT1As in HepG2 cells and the regulatory mechanisms on UGT1A1 based on the pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) signaling pathways.

          Methods: We analyzed the effect of OA and UA on UGT1A expression and on the PXR/CAR regulatory pathway in HepG2 cells, hPXR-silenced HepG2 cells, and hCAR-silenced HepG2 cells by Q-PCR, Western blotting, and dual-luciferase reporter gene assays.

          Results: In HepG2 cells, OA and UA both significantly induced the expression of UGT1A1, UGT1A3, UGT1A4, and UGT1A9 and upregulated the expression of PXR. However, OA and UA did not affect CAR expression. A dual-luciferase reporter assay showed that OA and UA could markedly promote PXR-mediated UGT1A1 luciferase activity, whereas OA and UA did not affect CAR-mediated UGT1A1 luciferase activity. In hPXR-silenced HepG2 cells, OA and UA did not elevate UGT1A1 activity compared to the control group. However, the expression of UGT1A1 in hCAR-silenced HepG2 cells was markedly elevated compared to the control group or with non-silenced HepG2 cells treated with OA (10, 20, and 40 μM) or UA (10, 20, and 40 μM).

          Conclusions: OA and UA significantly induce the expression of UGT1A1, UGT1A3, UGT1A4, and UGT1A9 in HepG2 cells, and their induction on UGT1A1 is mediated by PXR activation, not CAR.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases: metabolism, expression, and disease.

          In vertebrates, the glucuronidation of small lipophilic agents is catalyzed by the endoplasmic reticulum UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs). This metabolic pathway leads to the formation of water-soluble metabolites originating from normal dietary processes, cellular catabolism, or exposure to drugs and xenobiotics. This classic detoxification process, which led to the discovery nearly 50 years ago of the cosubstrate UDP-glucuronic acid (19), is now known to be carried out by 15 human UGTs. Characterization of the individual gene products using cDNA expression experiments has led to the identification of over 350 individual compounds that serve as substrates for this superfamily of proteins. This data, coupled with the introduction of sophisticated RNA detection techniques designed to elucidate patterns of gene expression of the UGT superfamily in human liver and extrahepatic tissues of the gastrointestinal tract, has aided in understanding the contribution of glucuronidation toward epithelial first-pass metabolism. In addition, characterization of the UGT1A locus and genetic studies directed at understanding the role of bilirubin glucuronidation and the biochemical basis of the clinical symptoms found in unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia have uncovered the structural gene polymorphisms associated with Crigler-Najjar's and Gilbert's syndrome. The role of the UGTs in metabolism and different disease states in humans is the topic of this review.
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            Nuclear pregnane x receptor and constitutive androstane receptor regulate overlapping but distinct sets of genes involved in xenobiotic detoxification.

            The nuclear pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) play central roles in protecting the body against environmental chemicals (xenobiotics). PXR and CAR are activated by a wide range of xenobiotics and regulate cytochrome P450 and other genes whose products are involved in the detoxification of these chemicals. In this report, we have used receptor-selective agonists together with receptor-null mice to identify PXR and CAR target genes in the liver and small intestine. Our results demonstrate that PXR and CAR regulate overlapping but distinct sets of genes involved in all phases of xenobiotic metabolism, including oxidative metabolism, conjugation, and transport. Among the murine genes regulated by PXR were those encoding PXR and CAR. We provide evidence that PXR regulates a similar program of genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism in human liver. Among the genes regulated by PXR in primary human hepatocytes were the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and its target genes CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. These findings underscore the importance of these two nuclear receptors in defending the body against a broad array of potentially harmful xenobiotics.
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              Nomenclature update for the mammalian UDP glycosyltransferase (UGT) gene superfamily.

              Several novel UDP glycosyltransferase (UGT) genes, mainly UDP glucuronosyltransferases, have been identified in the human, mouse and rat genomes and in other mammalian species. This review provides an update of the UGT nomenclature to include these new genes and prevent the confusion that arises when the same gene is given different names. The new genes are named following previously established recommendations, taking into consideration evolutionary relatedness and the names already in general usage in the literature. The mammalian UGT gene superfamily currently has 117 members that can be divided into four families, UGT1, UGT2, UGT3 and UGT8. The 5-exon genes of the UGT1 family each contain a unique first exon, plus four exons that are shared between the genes; the exons 1 appear to have evolved by a process of duplication, leading to the synthesis of proteins with identical carboxyl-terminal and variable amino-terminal domains. Exon-sharing is also seen with the 6-exon UGT2A1 and UGT2A2 genes. However, UGT2A3 and those of the UGT2B (six exons), UGT3 (seven exons) and UGT8 gene families (five or six exons) do not share exons and most likely were derived by a process of duplication of all exons in the gene. Most UGT1 and UGT8 enzymes have been characterized in detail; however, the catalytic functions of the UGT3A enzymes and several UGT2 enzymes remain to be characterized.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                27 September 2019
                : 10
                1Clinical Pharmacology Institute, Nanchang University , Nanchang, China
                2Laboratory of Translational Medicine and Oncology, Jiangxi Province Cancer Hospital , Nanchang, China
                3Pharmacy Department, Jiangxi Province Cancer Hospital , Nanchang, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jinyong Peng, Dalian Medical University, China

                Reviewed by: Tao Zeng, Shandong University, China; Guoxun Chen, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States; Feng Li, Baylor College of Medicine, United States

                *Correspondence: Chunhua Xia, xch720917@

                This article was submitted to Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Pharmacology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work

                Copyright © 2019 Yao, Zeng, Zhan, He, Liu, Liu, Zhang, Xiong and Xia

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 8, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 32, Pages: 12, Words: 6068
                Original Research

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                oa, ua, ugt1a1, pxr, car


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