Francisco Barrera, Lorena Azócar, Héctor Molina, Kurt A. Schalper, Marcia Ocares, Jessica Liberona, Luis Villarroel, Fernando Pimentel, Rosa M. Pérez-Ayuso, Flavio Nervi, Albert K. Groen, Juan F. Miquel
Background and rationale for the study. FGF19/15 is a gut-derived hormone presumably governing bile acid (BA) synthesis and gallbladder (GB) refilling. FGF19 mRNA is present in human GB cholangiocytes (hGBECs); however, the physiological significance of GB-derived FGF19 remains unknown. We investigated whether hGBECs secrete FGF19 and the effects of cholecystectomy on serum FGF19 ([FGF19]s) and BA synthesis. Material and methods. FGF19 expression was assessed by qRT-PCRs and immunostaining in hGBECs and terminal ileum, and quantified in bile and serum by ELISA. Basal and BA (chenodexycholic acid, CDCA) induced FGF19 expression and secretion was analyzed in primary cultured hGBECs and GB-d1 cell line. Pre and postprandial serum changes in [FGF19]s, 7α-hydroxy-4-cholestene-3-one (C4, a marker of BA synthesis) and BA were evaluated in plasma of gallstone disease patients at baseline and after cholecystectomy. Results. FGF19 mRNA levels were ~250-fold higher in hGBECs compared to distal ileum. GB bile contained ~23-fold higher FGF19 levels compared to serum (p < 0.0001). CDCA induced dose-dependent expression and secretion of FGF19 in hGBECs and GB-d1 cells. Cholecystectomy increased plasma BA synthesis ≥ 2-fold (p < 0.0001), and altered the diurnal rhythm and significantly reduced [FGF19]s noon peak. BA serum levels, serum cholesterol and triglyceride content remained unchanged. Conclusions. In conclusion human GB cholangiocytes constitutively express and secrete high levels of FGF19 in a process regulated by BA. Resection of this organ doubles BA synthesis concomitantly with changes in [FGF19]s. These findings suggest a potential connection between GB cholangiocytes-derived FGF19 and BA metabolism that could lead to metabolic dysregulation following cholecystectomy.
Key words. Gallbladder., Bile., Cholesterol 7-alpha hydroxylase., Cholangiocyte., Gallstone disease.