Metabolic Effects of Bile Acids in the Gut in Health and Disease
Marije Boesjes and Gemma Brufau
Affiliation: Center for Liver, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, Departments of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 EZ Groningen, The Netherlands.
In the last decade, it became clear that bile acids, in addition to their role in intestinal absorption of lipids and
fat-soluble vitamins, are major regulators of metabolism. They activate signal transduction pathways through binding to
the specific bile acid receptors TGR5 and FXR. Indirectly, bile acids influence metabolism via modification of the gut microbiota
ecosystem. The relation between bile acid metabolism and gut microbiota composition is very complex whereas
gut microbiota modulates bile acid structure, creating a complex bile acid pool consisting of a mixture of differentially
structured species, bile acids alter gut microbiota by disturbing bacterial membrane integrity. In addition, to the effects on
glucose and energy homeostasis, recent literature ascribed a role for bile acid signaling in control of inflammation and
regulation of the nervous system. In this review, we discuss a selection of recent published studies describing the effects
of intestinal bile acid signaling on health and disease.
Keywords: Bile acids, gut, microbiota.
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