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The Bile Acid Membrane Receptor TGR5 in Cancer: Friend or Foe?

September 2022

"The G-protein-coupled bile acid receptor, Gpbar1 or TGR5, is characterized as a membrane receptor specifically activated by bile acids. A series of evidence shows that TGR5 induces protein kinase B (AKT), nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB), extracellular regulated protein kinases (ERK1/2), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), Ras homolog family member A (RhoA), exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac), and transient receptor potential ankyrin subtype 1 protein (TRPA1) signaling pathways, thereby regulating proliferation, inflammation, adhesion, migration, insulin release, muscle relaxation, and cancer development. TGR5 is widely distributed in the brain, lung, heart, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, stomach, jejunum, ileum, colon, brown adipose tissue (BAT), white adipose tissue (WAT), and skeletal muscle. Several recent studies have demonstrated that TGR5 exerts inconsistent effects in different cancer cells upon activating via TGR5 agonists, such as INT-777, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), and taurolithocholic acid (TLCA). In this review, we discuss both the ‘friend’ and ‘foe’ features of TGR5 by summarizing its tumor-suppressing and oncogenic functions and mechanisms."

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