Cholesterol gallstone disease is characterized by several events, including cholesterol precipitation in bile, increased bile salt hydrophobicity and gallbladder inflammation. Here, we describe the same phenotype in mice lacking the bile acid receptor, FXR. Furthermore, in susceptible wild-type mice that recapitulate human cholesterol gallstone disease, treatment with a synthetic FXR agonist prevented sequelae of the disease. These effects were mediated by FXR-dependent increases in biliary bile salt and phospholipid concentrations, which restored cholesterol solubility and thereby prevented gallstone formation. Taken together, these results indicate that FXR is a promising therapeutic target for treating or preventing cholesterol gallstone disease.
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