Seven synthetic analogues of the PXR (pregnane-X-receptor) potent natural agonist solomonsterol A were prepared by total synthesis. Their activity toward PXR was assessed by transactivation and RT-PCR assays. The study discloses cholestan disulfate (8) as a new, simplified agonist of PXR. By in vitro studies on hepatic cells we have demonstrated that this compound is a potent PXR agonist and functional characterization in human macrophages and hepatic stellate cells provided evidence that cholestan disulfate (8) has the ability to modulate the immune response triggered by bacterial endotoxin as well as to counter-activate hepatic stellate cell activation induced by thrombin. Because inhibition of immune-driven circuits might have relevance in the treatment of inflammation and liver fibrosis, the present data support the development of cholestan disulfate (8) in preclinical models of inflammatory diseases.
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