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Effects of rhein on bile acid homeostasis in rats

By Zhong Xian, Jingzhuo Tian, Lianmei Wang, Yushi Zhang, Jiayin Han, Nuo Deng, Suyan Liu, Yong Zhao, Chunying Li, Yan Yi, Dunfang Wang, Jing Meng, Chen Pan, Aihua Liang

Posted 30 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.29.925297 (published DOI: 10.1155/2020/8827955)

Rhein, the active ingredient of rhubarb, a medicinal and edible plant, is widely used in clinical practice. In this work, we investigated the alterations of 14 bile acids and hepatic transporters after rats were administered rhein for 5 consecutive weeks. There was no obvious injury to the liver and kidney, and there were no significant changes in biochemical indicators. However, 1,000 mg/kg rhein increased the liver total bile acid (TBA) levels, especially taurine-conjugated bile acids (t-CBAs), inhibited the expression of Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and (bile salt export pump) BSEP mRNA, and upregulated the expression of (cholesterol 7-hydroxylase) CYP7A1 mRNA. Rhein close to the clinical dose reduced the amounts of TBAs, especially unconjugated bile acids (UCBAs), and elevated the expression of FXR and multidrug resistance-associated protein 3 (Mrp3) mRNA. These results denote that rhein is not toxic and is safe to use at a reasonable dose and timing.

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