Bile acids: emerging role in management of liver diseases

Amon Asgharpour, Divya Kumar, Arun Sanyal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Bile acids are well known for their effects on cholesterol homeostasis and lipid digestion. Since the discovery of bile acid receptors, of which there are farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor, and the plasma membrane G-protein receptor, as well as Takeda G-protein coupled receptor clone 5, further roles have been elucidated for bile acids including glucose and lipid metabolism as well as inflammation. Additionally, treatment with bile acid receptor agonists has shown a decrease in the amount of atherosclerosis plaque formation and decreased portal vascular resistance and portal hypotension in animal models. Furthermore, rodent models have demonstrated antifibrotic activity using bile acid receptor agonists. Early human data using a FXR agonist, obeticholic acid, have shown promising results with improvement of histological activity and even a reduction of fibrosis. Human studies are ongoing and will provide further information on bile acid receptor agonist therapies. Thus, bile acids and their derivatives have the potential for management of liver diseases and potentially other disease states including diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalHepatology International
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bile acids
  • FXR
  • Liver disease
  • TGR5


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