European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1523–1532 | Cite as

An atherogenic diet decreases liver FXR gene expression and causes severe hepatic steatosis and hepatic cholesterol accumulation: effect of endurance training

  • Isabelle Côté
  • Emilienne Tudor Ngo Sock
  • Émile Lévy
  • Jean-Marc Lavoie
Original Contribution



The aim of this study was to determine the effects of an atherogenic diet (AD; 40 % lipid, 1.25 % cholesterol, kcal) on triglyceride (TAG) and cholesterol accumulation in liver and on gene expression of liver X receptor (LXR) and farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and their target genes and to observe if these responses are affected by endurance training.


Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 32) were divided into two groups and randomly assigned to an AD or a standard diet (SD) for 7 weeks. Half of the rats in each group were assigned to an exercise training program for 5 days/week.


The AD resulted in a large (P < 0.01) accumulation in liver TAG (4×) along with elevated liver and plasma cholesterol without any gain in peripheral fat mass. The liver TAG and cholesterol accumulations were associated with an important reduction (P < 0.01; 60 %) in FXR, but no change in LXR transcripts. Accompanying the reduction in FXR gene expression, we found an increase (P < 0.001) in SREBP-1c and a decrease (P < 0.01) in MTP mRNAs suggesting an increased lipogenesis and a reduced VLDL production, respectively. The AD was also associated with lower HMG-CoA-r, squalene synthase, and ABCG8 transcripts (P < 0.001). In the intestine, exercise training resulted in higher NPC1L1, ABCG5, and ABCG8 in SD-fed animals, while all these increases were suppressed under the AD feeding.


It is concluded that dietary cholesterol favors liver TAG and cholesterol accumulations associated with an important reduction in FXR transcripts.


Cholesterol transport Bile acid synthesis Liver cholesterol Exercise 



This work was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR; T 0602 145.02) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC; 7594).

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Côté
    • 1
  • Emilienne Tudor Ngo Sock
    • 1
  • Émile Lévy
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Lavoie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of NutritionCentre de recherche du CHU Ste-JustineMontrealCanada

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