Pharmacological activation of the xenobiotic-sensing nuclear receptors pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is well-known to increase drug metabolism and reduce inflammation. Little is known regarding their physiological functions on the gut microbiome. In this study, we discovered bivalent hormetic functions of PXR/CAR modulating the richness of the gut microbiome using genetically engineered mice. The absence of PXR or CAR increased microbial richness, and absence of both receptors synergistically increased microbial richness. PXR and CAR deficiency increased the pro-inflammatory bacteria Helicobacteraceae and Helicobacter. Deficiency in both PXR and CAR increased the relative abundance of Lactobacillus, which has bile salt hydrolase activity, corresponding to decreased primary taurine-conjugated bile acids (BAs) in feces, which may lead to higher internal burden of taurine and unconjugated BAs, both of which are linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, and cytotoxicity. The basal effect of PXR/CAR on the gut microbiome was distinct from pharmacological and toxicological activation of these receptors. Common PXR/CAR-targeted bacteria were identified, the majority of which were suppressed by these receptors. hPXR-TG mice had a distinct microbial profile as compared to wild-type mice. This study is the first to unveil the basal functions of PXR and CAR on the gut microbiome.
- Bile acids
- Gut microbiome
- Nuclear receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)