Nutrients and environmental factors as regulators of gene expression
AbstractSeveral nuclear receptors bind substances in the diet or metabolites of dietary substances. This makes nuclear receptors a fascinating link between nutrition, toxicology, endocrinology and molecular biology. Nuclear receptor ligands may broadly be divided into two groups. The first group consists of steroid and thyroid hormones, and compounds that constitute intermediates in different biosynthetic pathways in steroid hormone, sterol and bile acid biosynthesis. The second group consists of the very diverse array of compounds that, with no or minor modifications, directly originate from foods, drugs or environmental pollutants. This review summarizes recent results on nuclear receptors with an emphasis on those with ligands of dietary relevance. The finding that several dietary compounds regulate gene expression in the same manner as steroid hormones has provided tools to help unravel molecular secrets and mechanisms behind many diet-associated diseases such as diab etes and obesity. Keywords: Cholesterol, fatty acid, nuclear receptor, orphan receptor, phyto-oestrogen, vitamin.
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