Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 159-170

Bile acid and cholesterol metabolism in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and therapy

1 Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH, USA
2 Department of Cardiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China

Correspondence Address:
John Y. L. Chiang
Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, Northeast Ohio Medical University, 4209 SR 44, P. O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2470-7511.305419

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Dysregulation of lipid metabolism is a major factor contributing to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD), which is the number one cause of death in western countries. The liver plays a central role in maintaining whole body cholesterol homeostasis via catabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, as well as biliary cholesterol excretion. The liver synthesizes lipoproteins that transport dietary cholesterol and fats to muscle and adipose tissue, directs reverse cholesterol transport of excess cholesterol from extrahepatic tissues and macrophages to the liver to convert to bile acids, and thus, protects against metabolism-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and ACVD. Liver fibrosis/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis increases the risk and prevalence of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Bile acids are signaling molecules and metabolic regulators that activate farnesoid X receptor and G protein-coupled bile acid receptor-1 to regulate lipid, glucose, and energy metabolism. The bidirectional regulation of bile acids and the gut microbiota determine the rate of bile acid synthesis, the bile acid pool size, and the composition of the circulating bile acid pool. The liver-intestine-heart axis regulates lipid metabolism, inflammation, and the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as ACVD, NAFLD, diabetes, and obesity. This review focuses on the roles of liver-to-intestine, liver-to-heart and intestine-to-heart axes in cholesterol, lipoprotein, and bile acid metabolism; signaling in heart health and ACVD; and drug therapies for atherosclerosis.

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