The pregnane X receptor (PXR) is well-known as a key regulator of drug/xenobiotic clearance. Upon activation by ligand, PXR transcriptionally upregulates the expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters. Recent studies have revealed that PXR also plays a role in regulating immune/inflammatory responses. Specific PXR activators, including synthetic ligands and phytochemicals, have been shown to ameliorate chemically induced colitis in mice. In this study, we investigated an anti-inflammatory effect of pregnenolone 16α-carbonitrile (PCN), a prototypical activator for rodent PXR, in concanavalin A (Con A)-induced liver injury, a model of immune-mediated liver injury, using wild-type and Pxr−/− mice. Unexpectedly, pretreatment with PCN significantly ameliorated Con A-induced liver injury in not only wild-type but Pxr−/− mice as well, accompanied with lowered plasma ALT levels and histological improvements. Pretreatment with PCN was found to significantly repress the induction of Cxcl2 and Ccl2 mRNA expression and neutrophil infiltration into the liver of both wild-type and Pxr−/− mice at the early time point of Con A-induced liver injury. Our results indicate that PCN has unexpected immunosuppressive activity independent of PXR activation to protect mice from immune-mediated liver injury induced by Con A.
- Immune-mediated liver injury
- Pregnane X receptor
- Pregnenolone 16α-carbonitrile
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