Dynamics and determinants of human plasma bile acid profiles during dietary challenges

Front Nutr. 2022 Jul 28;9:932937. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.932937. eCollection 2022.


In recent years, bile acids (BA) have received great interest due to their pleiotropic biological activity and the presence of plasma membrane-bound and nuclear receptors. Moreover, BA in blood have been identified by metabolite screening approaches as biomarkers that are associated with various diseases and even with a human longevity phenotype. With the growing interest in the microbiota contribution to the health-disease trajectory, BA that undergo deconjugation and other modifications by bacteria in the large intestine have become a prime target as a microbiome diversity modifier. We here profiled BA by a quantitative and a semiquantitative approach in 15 healthy and phenotypically very similar young individuals for over a 36-h fasting period, an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and an oral lipid tolerance test (OLTT). We demonstrate a remarkable heterogeneity of the responses and describe the different dynamics of the plasma changes that likely originate from different routes by which BA enters the peripheral blood, and that may represent a direct secretion from the liver into the blood and a route that reaches the blood as a spill-over after passing from the gallbladder through the intestine and the portal system. We discuss the finding that an individual transport process involved in the passage of BA could be a critical determinant in the kinetics of plasma appearance and the overall phenotypic variability found.

Keywords: OGTT; OLTT; bile salts; fasting; postprandial.