FXR Agonists as Therapeutic Agents for Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

  • Rotonya M. CarrEmail author
  • Andrea E. Reid
Nonstatin Drugs (EM deGoma, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Nonstatin Drugs


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for both cardiovascular and hepatic related morbidity and mortality. The increasing prevalence of this disease requires novel therapeutic approaches to prevent disease progression. Farnesoid X receptors are bile acid receptors with roles in lipid, glucose, and energy homeostasis. Synthetic farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonists have been developed to specifically target these receptors for therapeutic use in NAFLD patients. Here, we present a review of bile acid physiology and how agonism of FXR receptors has been examined in pre-clinical and clinical NAFLD. Early evidence suggests a potential role for synthetic FXR agonists in the management of NAFLD; however, additional studies are needed to clarify their effects on lipid and glucose parameters in humans.


FXR Obetacholic acid Bile acid NAFLD NASH Alcoholic hepatitis 



This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding from the following sources: K08-AA021424, P30-DK-50306 pilot, and feasibility grant program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award, 71586 (RMC)

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Rotonya M. Carr and Andrea E. Reid declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of GastroenterologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition SectionWashington DC VA Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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