Role of bile acids in inflammatory bowel disease

Authors Elisa Tiratterra, Placido Franco, Emanuele Porru, Konstantinos H. Katsanos, Dimitrios K. Christodoulou, Giulia Roda.


Bile acids (BAs) are the end product of cholesterol catabolism. Their synthesis is regulated by the nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor, also involved in the control of their enterohepatic circulation. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are multifactorial diseases characterized by diarrhea. The pathogenesis of diarrhea in IBD is still debated. The most important factor is the inflammatory process of the intestinal wall, causing alterations of solute and water absorption/secretion, deterioration of epithelial cell integrity, disruption of the intestinal microflora homeostasis, and impairment of specific transport mechanisms within the gut (including that of BAs). In this review, we summarize the current state of the art in this area and we critically evaluate the alterations of BA metabolism in patients with CD and UC.

Keywords Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, farnesoid X receptor, bile acids

Ann Gastroenterol 2018; 31 (3): 266-272

Invited Reviews