Enteral bile acid treatment improves parenteral nutrition-related liver disease and intestinal mucosal atrophy in neonatal pigs

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Jan 15;302(2):G218-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00280.2011. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is essential for patients with impaired gut function but leads to parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease (PNALD). TPN disrupts the normal enterohepatic circulation of bile acids, and we hypothesized that it would decrease intestinal expression of the newly described metabolic hormone fibroblast growth factor-19 (FGF19) and also glucagon-like peptides-1 and -2 (GLP-1 and GLP-2). We tested the effects of restoring bile acids by treating a neonatal piglet PNALD model with chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA). Neonatal pigs received enteral feeding (EN), TPN, or TPN + CDCA for 14 days, and responses were assessed by serum markers, histology, and levels of key regulatory peptides. Cholestasis and steatosis were demonstrated in the TPN group relative to EN controls by elevated levels of serum total and direct bilirubin and also bile acids and liver triglyceride (TG) content. CDCA treatment improved direct bilirubin levels by almost fourfold compared with the TPN group and also normalized serum bile acids and liver TG. FGF19, GLP-1, and GLP-2 were decreased in plasma of the TPN group compared with the EN group but were all induced by CDCA treatment. Intestinal mucosal growth marked by weight and villus/crypt ratio was significantly reduced in the TPN group compared with the EN group, and CDCA treatment increased both parameters. These results suggest that decreased circulating FGF19 during TPN may contribute to PNALD. Moreover, we show that enteral CDCA not only resolves PNALD but acts as a potent intestinal trophic agent and secretagogue for GLP-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Atrophy
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Cholestasis / drug therapy*
  • Cholestasis / etiology
  • Cholestasis / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / adverse effects*
  • Swine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides