Bile acids (BAs) have many physiological roles and exhibit both toxic and protective influences within the liver. Alterations in the BA profile may be the result of disease induced liver injury. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a prevalent form of chronic liver disease characterized by the pathophysiological progression from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The hypothesis of this study is that the 'classical' (neutral) and 'alternative' (acidic) BA synthesis pathways are altered together with hepatic BA composition during progression of human NAFLD. This study employed the use of transcriptomic and metabolomic assays to study the hepatic toxicologic BA profile in progressive human NAFLD. Individual human liver samples diagnosed as normal, steatosis, and NASH were utilized in the assays. The transcriptomic analysis of 70 BA genes revealed an enrichment of downregulated BA metabolism and transcription factor/receptor genes in livers diagnosed as NASH. Increased mRNA expression of BAAT and CYP7B1 was observed in contrast to decreased CYP8B1 expression in NASH samples. The BA metabolomic profile of NASH livers exhibited an increase in taurine together with elevated levels of conjugated BA species, taurocholic acid (TCA) and taurodeoxycholic acid (TDCA). Conversely, cholic acid (CA) and glycodeoxycholic acid (GDCA) were decreased in NASH liver. These findings reveal a potential shift toward the alternative pathway of BA synthesis during NASH, mediated by increased mRNA and protein expression of CYP7B1. Overall, the transcriptomic changes of BA synthesis pathway enzymes together with altered hepatic BA composition signify an attempt by the liver to reduce hepatotoxicity during disease progression to NASH.
- Bile acids
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas