The liver X receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors that play central roles in the transcriptional control of lipid metabolism. LXRs function as nuclear cholesterol sensors that are activated in response to elevated intracellular cholesterol levels in multiple cell types. Once activated, LXRs induce the expression of an array of genes involved in cholesterol absorption, efflux, transport, and excretion. In addition to their function in lipid metabolism, LXRs have also been found to modulate immune and inflammatory responses in macrophages. Synthetic LXR agonists promote cholesterol efflux and inhibit inflammation in vivo and inhibit the development of atherosclerosis in animal models. The ability of LXRs to integrate metabolic and inflammatory signaling makes them particularly attractive targets for intervention in human metabolic disease.
Noam Zelcer, Peter Tontonoz