Bile acid regulation: A novel therapeutic strategy in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Oct;190:81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.04.005. Epub 2018 Apr 22.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by excessive fat deposition in the liver in the absence of significant alcohol consumption. Dysregulated bile acid (BA) metabolism is an important indicator in the pathology of NAFLD, which could progress into more severe forms of liver injury. Lipid metabolism, immune environment and intestinal bacteria are all affected by dysregulated BA metabolism directly, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Several drug candidates that target BA metabolism, either used alone or in combination with other agents, are currently under development for treatment of NAFLD. Here, we summarize the relationship of dysregulated BA metabolism and NAFLD, discuss the effects and mechanisms of dysregulated BAs-induced lipid metabolism disorder. Challenges in developing novel treatments are also discussed.

Keywords: BA-activated receptor; Bile acids; Inflammation; Lipid metabolism; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Development / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / physiopathology*


  • Bile Acids and Salts