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Liver X receptors (LXRs) are master regulators of atherogenesis. Their anti-atherogenic potential has been attributed to their role in the inhibition of macrophage-mediated inflammation and promotion of reverse cholesterol transport. Owing to the significance of their anti-atherogenic potential, it is essential to develop and test new-generation LXR agonists, both synthetic and natural, to identify potential LXR-targeted therapeutics for the future. This review describes the role of LXRs in atherosclerotic development, and provides a summary of LXR agonists and future directions for atherosclerosis research. We searched PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar for relevant reports, from last 10 years, using atherosclerosis, liver X receptor, and LXR agonist as keywords. LXRα has gained widespread recognition as a regulator of cholesterol homeostasis and expression of inflammatory genes. Further research using models of cell type-specific knockout and specific agonist-targeted LXR isoforms is warranted. Enthusiasm for therapeutic value of LXR agonists has been tempered due to LXRα-mediated induction of hepatic lipogenesis. LXRα agonism and LXRβ targeting, gut-specific inverse LXR agonists, investigations combining LXR agonists with other lipogenesis-mitigating agents, like IDOL antagonists and synthetic HDL, and targeting ABCA1, M2 macrophages, and LXRα phosphorylation remain as promising possibilities.


Shreya R Savla, Kedar S Prabhavalkar, Lokesh K Bhatt. Liver X receptor: a potential target in the treatment of atherosclerosis. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets. 2022 Jul;26(7):645-658

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PMID: 36003057

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