Xenobiotic-Induced Hepatocyte Proliferation Associated with Constitutive Active/Androstane Receptor (CAR) or Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor α (PPARα) Is Enhanced by Pregnane X Receptor (PXR) Activation in Mice

Ryota Shizu, Satoshi Benoki, Yuki Numakura, Susumu Kodama, Masaaki Miyata, Yasushi Yamazoe, Kouichi Yoshinari

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Xenobiotic-responsive nuclear receptors pregnane X receptor (PXR), constitutive active/androstane receptor (CAR) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) play pivotal roles in the metabolic functions of the liver such as xenobiotics detoxification and energy metabolism. While CAR or PPARα activation induces hepatocyte proliferation and hepatocarcinogenesis in rodent models, it remains unclear whether PXR activation also shows such effects. In the present study, we have investigated the role of PXR in the xenobiotic-induced hepatocyte proliferation with or without CAR activation by 1,4-bis[2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy)]benzene (TCPOBOP) and phenobarbital, or PPARα activation by Wy-14643 in mice. Treatment with TCPOBOP or phenobarbital increased the percentage of Ki-67-positive nuclei as well as mRNA levels of cell proliferation-related genes in livers as expected. On the other hand, treatment with the PXR activator pregnenolone 16α-carbonitrile (PCN) alone showed no such effects. Surprisingly, PCN co-treatment significantly augmented the hepatocyte proliferation induced by CAR activation with TCPOBOP or phenobarbital in wild-type mice but not in PXR-deficient mice. Intriguingly, PXR activation also augmented the hepatocyte proliferation induced by Wy-14643 treatment. Moreover, PCN treatment increased the RNA content of hepatocytes, suggesting the induction of G0/G1 transition, and reduced mRNA levels of Cdkn1b and Rbl2, encoding suppressors of cell cycle initiation. Our present findings indicate that xenobiotic-induced hepatocyte proliferation mediated by CAR or PPARα is enhanced by PXR co-activation despite that PXR activation alone does not cause the cell proliferation in mouse livers. Thus PXR may play a novel and unique role in the hepatocyte/liver hyperplasia upon exposure to xenobiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61802
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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