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23-Alkyl-substituted and 6,23-alkyl-disubstituted derivatives of chenodeoxycholic acid are identified as potent and selective agonists of TGR5, a G-protein coupled receptor for bile acids (BAs). In particular, we show that methylation at the C-23(S) position of natural BAs confers a marked selectivity for TGR5 over FXR, while the 6alpha-alkyl substitution increases the potency at both receptors. The present results allow for the first time a pharmacological differentiation of genomic versus nongenomic effects mediated by BA derivatives