Pravastatin modulates liver bile acid and cholesterol homeostasis in rats with chronic cholestasis

Gabriela Kolouchova, Eva Brcakova, Petra Hirsova, Ludek Sispera, Pavel Tomsik, Jolana Cermanova, Radek Hyspler, Martina Slanarova, Leos Fuksa, Halka Lotkova, Stanislav Micuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background and Aim: The administration of pravastatin to patients with cholestatic liver disease has suggested the potential of the drug with regard to reducing raised plasma cholesterol and bile acid levels. Information about the mechanisms associated with this effect is lacking. Thus, the aim of the present study is to evaluate pravastatin effects on the liver bile acid and cholesterol homeostasis in healthy and cholestatic rats. Methods: Control sham-operated and reversibly bile duct-obstructed (BDO) rats were treated with pravastatin (1 or 5mg/kg) or the vehicle alone for 7days after surgery. Results: Lower doses of pravastatin reduced bile acid plasma concentrations in cholestatic animals. The effect was associated with reduced liver mRNA expression of Cyp7a1, Cyp8b1, Mrp2, Ugt1a1 and the increased expression of Bsep. In addition, BDO-induced increase in the liver content of cholesterol was normalized by pravastatin. The change was accompanied by the reduced liver expression of Hmg-CoA reductase, LDL receptor, and Acat2, and induced the expression of Abca1 and Mdr2. These changes corresponded with the upregulation of nuclear receptors LXRα and PPARα, and the downregulation of FXR, CAR, SREBP-2 and HNF1α. High doses of pravastatin lacked any positive effects on bile acids and cholesterol homeostasis, and blocked bile formation through the reduction of the biliary excretion of bile acids. Conclusions: Pravastatin rendered a positive reduction in BDO-induced increases in plasma bile acid concentrations and cholesterol liver content, mainly through the transcriptionally-mediated downregulation of genes involved in the synthesis of these compounds in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1544-1551
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Bile acids
  • Bile duct obstruction
  • Cholesterol
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Pravastatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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