Bile acids, mainly ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and its conjugated species glycoursodeoxycholic acid (GUDCA) and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) have long been known to have anti-apoptotic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to their beneficial actions, recent studies have started to investigate the effect of UDCA, GUDCA, TUDCA on the same mechanisms in pre-clinical models of neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, where increased cell apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain are often observed. A total of thirty-five pre-clinical studies were identified through PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, Embase, PsychInfo, and CINAHL databases, investigating the role of the UDCA, GUDCA and TUDCA in the regulation of brain apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation, in pre-clinical models of neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Findings show that UDCA reduces apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α production in neurodegenerative models, and reduces nitric oxide (NO) and interleukin (IL)-1β production in neuropsychiatric models; GUDCA decreases lactate dehydrogenase, TNF-α and IL-1β production in neurological models, and also reduces cytochrome c peroxidase production in neurodegenerative models; TUDCA decreases apoptosis in neurological models, reduces ROS and IL-1β production in neurodegenerative models, and decreases apoptosis and TNF-α production, and increases glutathione production in neuropsychiatric models. In addition, findings suggest that all the three bile acids would be equally beneficial in models of Huntington's disease, whereas UDCA and TUDCA would be more beneficial in models of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, while GUDCA in models of bilirubin encephalopathy and TUDCA in models of depression. Overall, this review confirms the therapeutic potential of UDCA, GUDCA and TUDCA in neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, proposing bile acids as potential alternative therapeutic approaches for patients suffering from these disorders.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Glycoursodeoxycholic acid; Inflammation; Oxidative stress; Tauroursodeoxycholic acid; Ursodeoxycholic acid.
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