Bile Acid Metabolome after an Oral Lipid Tolerance Test by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 10;11(2):e0148869. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148869. eCollection 2016.


Context: Besides their role in intestinal resorption of lipids, bile acids are regarded as endocrine and metabolic signaling molecules. The detailed profile of bile acid species in peripheral blood after an oral lipid tolerance test (OLTT) is unknown.

Objective: We quantified the regulation of 18 bile acids after OLTT in healthy individuals.

Material and methods: 100 volunteers were characterized by anthropometric and laboratory parameters and underwent OLTT. Venous blood was drawn in the fasted state (0 h) and at 2h, 4h, and 6 h after OLTT. Serum concentrations of 18 bile acids were measured by LC-MS/MS.

Results: All of the 6 taurine-conjugated bile acids (TUDCA, THDCA, TCA, TCDCA, TDCA, TLCA) and all of the 6 glycine-conjugated bile acids (GUDCA, GHDCA, GCA, GCDCA, GDCA, GLCA) rose significantly at 2h and remained elevated during OLTT. Of the primary bile acids, CA remained unchanged, whereas CDCA significantly decreased at 4h. Of the secondary bile acids, DCA, UDCA and HDCA were not altered, whereas LCA decreased. There was a significant positive correlation between the intestinal feed-back regulator of bile acid synthesis FGF-19 and bile acids. This correlation seems to depend on all of the six taurine-conjugated bile acids and on GCA, GDCA, and GCDCA. Females and users of hormonal contraception displayed higher levels of taurine-conjugated bile acids.

Conclusions: The novelty of the study is based on the identification of single bile acids during OLTT. LC-MS/MS-based quantification of bile acids in serum provides a reliable tool for future investigation of endocrine and metabolic effects of bile acids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Bile Acids and Salts / blood*
  • Bile Acids and Salts / chemistry
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome* / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Postprandial Period
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Taurine / analysis
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Dietary Fats
  • FGF19 protein, human
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides
  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Taurine
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Glycine

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.