Rifampicin, not vitamin E, suppresses parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease development through the pregnane X receptor pathway in piglets

Gregory Guthrie*, Barbara Stoll, Shaji Chacko, Charlotte Lauridsen, Jogchum Plat, Douglas Burrin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


Infants receiving long-term parenteral nutrition (PN) develop PN-associated liver disease (PNALD). We previously (Ng K et al. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 40: 656 - 671, 2016. doi: 10.1177/0148607114567900.) showed that PN containing soy-based lipid supplemented with vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) prevents the development of PNALD. We hypothesize that this occurs via vitamin E activation of pregnane X receptor (PXR)-mediated pathways involved in bile acid metabolism. Neonatal piglets received PN for 14 days containing Intralipid (IL; soy-based lipid emulsion), IL supplemented with 12.6 mg.kg(-1).day(-1) vitamin E (VITE), or IL with 10 mg.kg(-1).day(-1) Rifadin IV (RIF), a PXR agonist. Pigs treated with IL and VITE, but not RIF, developed cholestasis and hyperbilirubinemia, markers of liver disease. The hepatic PXR target genes CYP3A29 and UGT1A6 increased during RIF treatment. RIF also modestly increased metabolism of chenodeoxycholic acid to the more hydrophilic bile acid hyocholic acid. Serum fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-19, a key regulator in suppressing hepatic bile acid synthesis, significantly increased in the RIF group. We conclude rifampicin modified markers of PNALD development by increased metabolism of bile acids and potentially suppressed bile acid synthesis. Vitamin E was ineffective at high lipid doses in preventing PNALD.

NEW & NOTEWORTHY Intravenous vitamin E and rifampicin were administered to neonatal piglets receiving parenteral nutrition to determine their efficacy in reducing the progression of parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease (PNALD). Rifampicin increased serum FGF-19 concentrations and synthesis of the bile acid hyocholic acid which led to a reduction of PNALD parameters at 2 wk of administration. This result has potential clinical implications for the use of rifampicin as a safe and inexpensive treatment for short-term development of PNALD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G41-G52
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • bile acid metabolism
  • cholestasis
  • parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease
  • rifampicin
  • alpha-tocopherol
  • vitamin E
  • ACID
  • BILE

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