The following is a summary of “Circulating Bile Acids as Biomarkers for Disease Diagnosis and Prevention,” published in the February 2023 issue of Endocrinology & Metabolism by Qi, et al.

The crucial signaling molecules known as bile acids (BAs) control inflammation and energy metabolism. In some disease states, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), recent epidemiological investigations revealed particular variations in circulating BA patterns. The practical application of BA profiling for illness prediction has shown significant advancements during the past ten years. For a study, researchers sought to compile and synthesize recent data on variations in circulating BA profiles in patients with different diseases to assess the usefulness of these biomarkers in human plasma for early detection.

A PubMed search using the terms BAs, obesity, T2DM, insulin resistance (IR), NAFLD, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), colon cancer, and AD, among others, produced a collection of primary and reviewed literature that served as the basis for the study.

Specific changes in circulating BA profiles were seen in people with obesity, T2DM, HCC, CCA, or AD. These changes had occurred before these diseases were discovered. Clear and independent relationships between BA profiles and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis cannot be established because of the complex interactions between obesity, IR, and NAFLD. Throughout the whole spectrum of NAFLD, changes in the concentrations of total BAs and many BA species were observed, showing appreciable increases as histological characteristics deteriorated.

An early stage in the development and progression of obesity, T2DM, HCC, and AD was marked by abnormal circulating BA profiles. The pleiotropic actions of BAs explained the extensive connections. Circulating BA profiles might serve as a foundation for creating biomarkers for detecting and treating various illnesses.