From Science Daily:

A bile acid that can turn off a receptor in the gut has prevented and reversed fatty liver disease in mice, according to an international team of researchers. The compound may help treat certain metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well.

Obese and diabetic mice fed glycine-beta muricholic acid — Gly-MCA — pills with a high-fat diet had significantly less fat and less insulin resistance than the untreated control group, according to Andrew Patterson, associate professor of molecular toxicology, Penn State.

The researchers, who report their findings in Nature Communications, showed that Gly-MCA can inhibit the farnesoid X receptor — FXR — a transcription factor that regulates the expression of certain genes in tissues like those of the intestine and liver.

“Depending on the balance of conjugated and unconjugated bile acids, bacteria can modify these bile acid pools and turn off or turn on this receptor — FXR — in the gut,” said Frank Gonzalez, chief of the laboratory of metabolism, National Cancer Institute.

FXR plays a key role in maintaining metabolism by sensing and regulating bile acids, fats and glucose in the body, Gonzalez said. He added that the receptor’s role in the production and metabolism of fat may help explain part of the treatment’s anti-obesity effect, although that will be the subject of future research.

Patterson said the mice ate only a small amount of the compound to lead to metabolic benefits. For a human, the equivalent would be a single dose in pill…

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