Endocrine and paracrine role of bile acids

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Oct 7;14(37):5620-9. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5620.


Bile acids are not only important for the absorption of dietary lipids and fat soluble vitamins but are signalling molecules with diverse endocrine and paracrine functions. Bile acids regulate bile acid, lipid and glucose metabolism and modulate temperature and energy homeostasis. Furthermore, bile acids can not only promote cell proliferation and liver regeneration but can also induce programmed cell death. Bile acid functions are mediated through different pathways which comprise the activation of nuclear hormone receptors, of intracellular kinases and of the plasma membrane-bound, G-protein coupled bile acid receptor TGR5/Gpbar-1.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Endocrine System / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Paracrine Communication*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • GPBAR1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Protein Kinases
  • Glucose