Background: Dysregulation of gut microbiota–host bile acid (BA) co-metabolism is a critical pathogenic factor of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), instructed by pattern differentiation, is effective in treating IBS-D, in which liver depression and spleen deficiency (LDSD) is the most prevalent pattern. Still, it is unclear the linkage between the LDSD pattern and the BA metabolic phenotype.
Purpose: This study aimed to uncover the biological basis of the LDSD pattern from the BA metabolic perspective.
Methods: Patients with IBS-D completed questionnaires regarding the irritable bowel severity scoring system (IBS-SSS), stool frequency, Stool Bristol scale, and Self-Rating Scales of mental health. Fasting blood and morning feces were collected to analyze the gut metagenome and BA-related indices/metabolites.
Results: IBS-D patients with LDSD had a higher incidence of BA overexcretion (41% vs. 23% non-LDSD) with significant elevations in fecal total BAs and serum BA precursor 7α-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one levels. Compared to controls or non-LDSD patients, LDSD patients had a featured fecal BA profile, with higher proportions of deoxycholic acid (DCA), 7-ketodeoxycholic acid, and lithocholic acid. It is consistent with the BA-metabolizing genomic changes in the LDSD gut microbiota characterized by overabundances of 7-dehydroxylating bacteria and BA-inducible genes (baiCD/E/H). The score of bowel symptoms (stool frequency and abdominal pain) showing greater severity in the LDSD pattern were positively correlated with bai-expressing bacterial abundances and fecal DCA levels separately.
Conclusion: We clarified a differed BA metabolic phenotype in IBS patients with LDSD, which closely correlates with the severity of bowel symptoms. It demonstrates that gut microbiota and host co-metabolism of BAs would provide crucial insight into the biology of the LDSD pattern and its internal relationship with IBS progression.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Liver depression and spleen deficiency
- Gut microbiota
- Bile acids