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Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4a) is a liver-enriched master regulator of liver function. HNF4a is important in regulating hepatic expression of certain cytochrome P450s. The purpose of this study was to use mice lacking HNF4a expression in liver (HNF4a-HNull) to elucidate the role of HNF4a in regulating hepatic expression of phase II enzymes and transporters in mice. Compared with male wild-type mice, HNF4a-HNull male mouse livers had (1) markedly lower messenger RNAs (mRNAs) encoding the uptake transporters sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide, organic anion transporting polypeptide (Oatp) 1a1, Oatp2b1, organic anion transporter 2, sodium phosphate cotransporter type 1, sulfate anion transporter 1, sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 1, the phase II enzymes Uridine 5'-diphospho (UDP)-glucuronosyltransferase (Ugt) 2a3, Ugt2b1, Ugt3a1, Ugt3a2, sulfotransferase (Sult) 1a1, Sult1b1, Sult5a1, the efflux transporters multidrug resistance-associated protein (Mrp) 6, and multidrug and toxin extrusion 1; (2) moderately lower mRNAs encoding Oatp1b2, organic cation transporter (Oct) 1, Ugt1a5, Ugt1a9, glutathione S-transferase (Gst) m4, Gstm6, and breast cancer resistance protein; but (3) higher mRNAs encoding Oatp1a4, Octn2, Ugt1a1, Sult1e1, Sult2a2, Gsta4, Gstm1-m3, multidrug resistance protein (Mdr) 1a, Mrp3, and Mrp4. Hepatic signaling of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 and pregnane X receptor appear to be activated in HNF4a-HNull mice. In conclusion, HNF4a deficiency markedly alters hepatic mRNA expression of a large number of phase II enzymes and transporters, probably because of the loss of HNF4a, which is a transactivator and a determinant of gender-specific expression and/or adaptive activation of signaling pathways important in hepatic regulation of these phase II enzymes and transporters.


Hong Lu, Frank J Gonzalez, Curtis Klaassen. Alterations in hepatic mRNA expression of phase II enzymes and xenobiotic transporters after targeted disruption of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology. 2010 Dec;118(2):380-90

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PMID: 20935164

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