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Journal of Lipids
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 547643, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/547643
Review Article

Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Link between Nuclear Receptor Function and Cholesterol Gallstone Formation

1Departamento de Gastroenterología, Escuela de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Marcoleta No. 367, 8330024 Santiago, Chile
2Departamento de Nutrición, Diabetes y Metabolismo, Escuela de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Marcoleta No. 367, 8330024 Santiago, Chile

Received 18 July 2011; Accepted 10 August 2011

Academic Editor: P. Portincasa

Copyright © 2012 Mary Carmen Vázquez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cholesterol gallstone disease is highly prevalent in western countries, particularly in women and some specific ethnic groups. The formation of water-insoluble cholesterol crystals is due to a misbalance between the three major lipids present in the bile: cholesterol, bile salts, and phospholipids. Many proteins implicated in biliary lipid secretion in the liver are regulated by several transcription factors, including nuclear receptors LXR and FXR. Human and murine genetic, physiological, pathophysiological, and pharmacological evidence is consistent with the relevance of these nuclear receptors in gallstone formation. In addition, there is emerging data that also suggests a role for estrogen receptor ESR1 in abnormal cholesterol metabolism leading to gallstone disease. A better comprehension of the role of nuclear receptor function in gallstone formation may help to design new and more effective therapeutic strategies for this highly prevalent disease condition.