Grounding on our former 3D QSAR studies, a knowledge-based screen of natural bile acids from diverse animal species has led to the identification of avicholic acid as a selective but weak TGR5 agonist. Chemical modifications of this compound resulted in the disclosure of 6α-ethyl-16-epi-avicholic acid that shows enhanced potency at TGR5 and FXR receptors. The synthesis, biological appraisals, and structure–activity relationships of this series of compounds are herein described. Moreover, a thorough physicochemical characterization of 6α-ethyl-16-epi-avicholic acid as compared to naturally occurring bile acids is reported and discussed.
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