Bile Acid Profiles Are Distinct among Patients with Different Etiologies of Chronic Liver Disease

Chao Sang, Xiaoning Wang, Kejun Zhou, Tao Sun, Hua Bian, Xin Gao, Yixing Wang, Hua Zhang, Wei Jia, Ping Liu*, Guoxiang Xie*, Tianlu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A significant increase of bile acid (BA) levels has been recognized as a general metabolic phenotype of diverse liver diseases. Monitoring of BA profiles has been proposed for etiology differentiation on liver injury. Here, we quantitatively profiled serum BAs of healthy controls and 719 patients with chronic liver disease of five etiologies, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD), and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and investigated the generality and specificity of different etiologies. The raw data have been deposited into MetaboLights (ID: MTBLS2459). We found that patients with HBV, HCV, and NASH appeared to be more similar, and ALD and PBC patients clustered together. BA profiles, consisting of a total concentration of the 21 quantified BAs [total BAs (TBAs)], 21 BA proportions, and 24 BA relevant variables, were highly different among the etiologies. Specifically, the total BAs was higher in ALD and PBC patients compared with the other three groups. The proportion of conjugated deoxycholates was the highest in HBV-infected patients. The ratio of 12α-hydroxylated (12α-OH) to non-12α-OH BAs was the highest in NASH patients. The proportion of taurine-conjugated BAs was the highest in ALD patients. For PBC patients, the proportion of ursodeoxycholate species was the highest, and the ratio of primary to secondary BAs was the lowest. Comparatively, the difference of BA profiles among cirrhosis patients was consistent but weaker than that of all patients. The correlations between BA profiles and clinical indices were also quite different in different pathological groups, both in all patients and in patients with cirrhosis. Overall, our findings suggested that BA compositions are distinct among patients with different etiologies of chronic liver disease, and some BA-relevant variables are of clinical potentials for liver injury type differentiation, although further validations on more etiologies and populations are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2340-2351
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number5
Early online date23 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • alcohol-induced liver disease
  • Bile acids
  • HBV
  • HCV
  • NASH
  • primary biliary cirrhosis


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