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Keystone Symposia: Bile Acid Receptors as Signal Integrators in Liver and Metabolism

3rd March 2017 - 7th March 2017
Monterey, California, United States


In the last decade, bile acids have enjoyed a real renaissance, sparked by the identification at the turn of the millennium of their dedicated receptors, FXR and TGR5. This has been instrumental in revealing the key role bile acids play in regulating liver and metabolic homeostasis, transforming them from detergents facilitating the intestinal absorption of nutrients into versatile hormones. Signaling through FXR and TGR5 indeed modulates several metabolic pathways, regulating not only bile acid synthesis and enterohepatic recirculation, but also lipid, glucose and energy homeostasis. In addition, FXR and TGR5 agonists display anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties, making these agents interesting candidates for the treatment of several liver and metabolic diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). With the hepatitis C virus infection nearly solved, NASH is already a medical problem of epidemic proportions poised to become by 2020 the leading indication for liver transplantation in the US. This conference will review genetics, structure and functions of bile acid receptors and will explore the intricate interactions among gut microbiota, bile acids and liver disease, as well as the multiple bidirectional signals along the gut-liver axis. Intriguingly, FXR agonists, like the bile acid derivative obeticholic acid, could have a beneficial role in the treatment of NASH by decreasing hepatic lipogenesis, steatosis and insulin resistance, while also inhibiting inflammatory and fibrogenic responses able to promote liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The conference therefore aims at integrating basic, translational and clinical aspects of bile acid receptors, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to discuss the state of the art and propose new avenues of investigation in this active and dynamic field.

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