TNF compromises intestinal bile-acid tolerance dictating colitis progression and limited infliximab response

Cell Metab. 2024 Jun 28:S1550-4131(24)00233-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2024.06.008. Online ahead of print.


The intestine constantly encounters and adapts to the external environment shaped by diverse dietary nutrients. However, whether and how gut adaptability to dietary challenges is compromised in ulcerative colitis is incompletely understood. Here, we show that a transient high-fat diet exacerbates colitis owing to inflammation-compromised bile acid tolerance. Mechanistically, excessive tumor necrosis factor (TNF) produced at the onset of colitis interferes with bile-acid detoxification through the receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway in intestinal epithelial cells, leading to bile acid overload in the endoplasmic reticulum and consequent apoptosis. In line with the synergy of bile acids and TNF in promoting gut epithelial damage, high intestinal bile acids correlate with poor infliximab response, and bile acid clearance improves infliximab efficacy in experimental colitis. This study identifies bile acids as an "opportunistic pathogenic factor" in the gut that would represent a promising target and stratification criterion for ulcerative colitis prevention/therapy.

Keywords: bile acid; detoxification; infliximab; tumor necrosis factor; ulcerative colitis.