Bile acids: short and long term effects in the intestine

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun;45(6):645-64. doi: 10.3109/00365521003702734.


Bile acids have secretory, motility and antimicrobial effects in the intestine. In patients with bile acid malabsorption the amount of primary bile acids in the colon is increased compared to healthy controls. Deoxycholic acid is affecting the intestinal smooth muscle activity. Chenodeoxycholic acid has the highest potency to affect intestinal secretion. Litocholic acid has little effect in the lumen of intestine compared to both deoxycholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid. There is no firm evidence that clinically relevant concentrations of bile acids induce colon cancer. Alterations in bile acid metabolism may be involved in the pathophysiology of constipation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / biosynthesis*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Bile Acids and Salts