Author(s): Eva Hambruch, Olaf Kinzel, and Claus Kremoser
The Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) has recently moved into the spotlight through the release of clinical data using Obeticholic Acid, an FXR agonist, that demonstrated effectiveness of this bile acid-like drug in patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). FXR holds the promise to become an attractive drug target for various conditions, from Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), NASH, liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension and a variety of cholestatic disorders to intestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and bile acid diarrhea. Despite the wide therapeutic potential, surprisingly little is known about the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution properties of drugs targeting FXR. Are tissue specific FXR agonists preferable for different indications, or might one type of ligand fit all purposes? This review aims to summarize the sparse data which are available on this clinically and pharmacologically relevant topic and provides a mechanistic model for understanding tissue-specific effects in vivo.