The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR; NR1I3) contributes important regulatory roles in biotransformation, xenobiotic transport function, energy metabolism and lipid homeostasis. In this investigation, global serum and liver tissue metabolomes were assessed analytically in wild type and CAR-null transgenic mice using NMR, GC-MS and UPLC-MS/MS-based metabolomics. Significantly, CAR activation increased serum levels of fatty acids, lactate, ketone bodies and tricarboxylic acid cycle products, whereas levels of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, amino acids and liver glucose were decreased following short-term activation of CAR. Mechanistically, quantitative mRNA analysis demonstrated significantly decreased expression of key gluconeogenic pathways, and increased expression of glucose utilization pathways, changes likely resulting from down-regulation of the hepatic glucose sensor and bidirectional transporter, Glut2. Short-term CAR activation also resulted in enhanced fatty acid synthesis and impaired β-oxidation. In summary, CAR contributes an expansive role regulating energy metabolism, significantly impacting glucose and monocarboxylic acid utilization, fatty acid metabolism and lipid homeostasis, through receptor-mediated regulation of several genes in multiple associated pathways.
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