Hyocholic acid species as novel biomarkers for metabolic disorders

Xiaojiao Zheng, Tianlu Chen, Aihua Zhao, Zhangchi Ning, Junliang Kuang, Shouli Wang, Yijun You, Yuqian Bao, Xiaojing Ma, Haoyong Yu, Jian Zhou, Miao Jiang, Mengci Li, Jieyi Wang, Xiaohui Ma, Shuiping Zhou, Yitao Li, Kun Ge, Cynthia Rajani, Guoxiang XieCheng Hu, Yike Guo, Aiping Lu*, Weiping Jia*, Wei Jia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Hyocholic acid (HCA) is a major bile acid (BA) species in the BA pool of pigs, a species known for its exceptional resistance to spontaneous development of diabetic phenotypes. HCA and its derivatives are also present in human blood and urine. We investigate whether human HCA profiles can predict the development of metabolic disorders. We find in the first cohort (n = 1107) that both obesity and diabetes are associated with lower serum concentrations of HCA species. A separate cohort study (n = 91) validates this finding and further reveals that individuals with pre-diabetes are associated with lower levels of HCA species in feces. Serum HCA levels increase in the patients after gastric bypass surgery (n = 38) and can predict the remission of diabetes two years after surgery. The results are replicated in two independent, prospective cohorts (n = 132 and n = 207), where serum HCA species are found to be strong predictors for metabolic disorders in 5 and 10 years, respectively. These findings underscore the association of HCA species with diabetes, and demonstrate the feasibility of using HCA profiles to assess the future risk of developing metabolic abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1487
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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