Purpose of review: To provide an update on the prevalence, pathophysiology, disease associations, and treatment options for bile acid malabsorption (BAM).
Recent findings: •Molecular mechanisms-BAs prevent water reabsorption and increase water secretion by intracellular mediators, increasing aquaporin channels and intracellular permeability. •Inflammatory bowel disease-new molecular mechanisms of BAM are identified in patients without ileal disease, including changes in expression of ileal BA transporter and nuclear receptors involved in BA homeostasis. •Microscopic colitis-BAM is one of the mechanisms leading to microscopic colitis. •Diagnostic testing-new diagnostic tests have been launched in the USA (serum C4 and fecal 48-h BA excretion); stimulated FGF19 has higher detection of BAM compared to fasting sample alone. •Treatment-investigational FXR agonists may provide a daily, oral option for treatment of BAM instead of BA sequestrants. There is a greater appreciation of the biological role of bile acids across multiple fields of medicine, including gastrointestinal indications.
Keywords: Bile acid malabsorption; Colonic mechanisms; FXR agonists; Fibroblast growth factor; Inflammatory bowel disease; Microscopic colitis.