Activation of Pregnane X Receptor Sensitizes Mice to Hemorrhagic Shock–Induced Liver Injury

Yang Xie, Meishu Xu, Meihong Deng, Zhigang Li, Pengcheng Wang, Songrong Ren, Yan Guo, Xiaochao Ma, Jie Fan, Timothy R. Billiar, Wen Xie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Hemorrhagic shock (HS) is a life-threatening condition associated with tissue hypoperfusion and often leads to injury of multiple organs including the liver. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a species-specific xenobiotic receptor that regulates the expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) such as the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A. Many clinical drugs, including those often prescribed to trauma patients, are known to activate PXR and induce CYP3A. The goal of this study is to determine whether PXR plays a role in the regulation of DMEs in the setting of HS and whether activation of PXR is beneficial or detrimental to HS-induced hepatic injury. PXR transgenic, knockout, and humanized mice were subject to HS, and the liver injury was assessed histologically and biochemically. The expression and/or activity of PXR and CYP3A were manipulated genetically or pharmacologically in order to determine their effects on HS-induced liver injury. Our results showed that genetic or pharmacological activation of PXR sensitized wild-type and hPXR/CYP3A4 humanized mice to HS-induced hepatic injury, whereas knockout of PXR protected mice from HS-induced liver injury. Mechanistically, the sensitizing effect of PXR activation was accounted for by PXR-responsive induction of CYP3A and increased oxidative stress in the liver. The sensitizing effect of PXR was attenuated by ablation or pharmacological inhibition of CYP3A, treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine amide, or treatment with a PXR antagonist. Conclusion: We have uncovered a function of PXR in HS-induced hepatic injury. Our results suggest that the unavoidable use of PXR-activating drugs in trauma patients has the potential to exacerbate HS-induced hepatic injury, which can be mitigated by the coadministration of antioxidative agents, CYP3A inhibitors, or PXR antagonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1010
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


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