Brian C. Ferslew , PharmD, PhD 1 , 2 , Guoxiang Xie , PhD 3 , Curtis K. Johnston , PharmD 1 , Mingming Su , MS 3 , Paul W. Stewart , PhD 4 , Wei Jia , PhD 3 , Kim L.R. Brouwer , PharmD, PhD 1 , A. Sidney Barritt IV , MD, MSCR 5
03 July 2015
The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis (NASH) is increasing at an alarming rate. The role of bile acids in the development and progression of NAFLD to NASH and cirrhosis is poorly understood. This study aimed to quantify the bile acid metabolome in healthy subjects and patients with non-cirrhotic NASH under fasting conditions and after a standardized meal.
Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy was used to quantify 30 serum and 16 urinary bile acids from 15 healthy volunteers and 7 patients with biopsy-confirmed NASH. Bile acid concentrations were measured at two fasting and four post-prandial timepoints following a high-fat meal to induce gallbladder contraction and bile acid reabsorption from the intestine.
Patients with NASH had significantly higher total serum bile acid concentrations than healthy subjects under fasting conditions (2.2- to 2.4-fold increase in NASH; NASH: 2595–3549 μM and healthy: 1171–1458 μM) and at all post-prandial time points (1.7- to 2.2-fold increase in NASH; NASH: 4444–5898 μM and healthy: 2634–2829 μM). These changes were driven by increased taurine- and glycine-conjugated primary and secondary bile acids. Patients with NASH exhibited greater variability in their fasting and post-prandial bile acid profile.