Research ArticleLiver disease

Inhibition of ileal bile acid uptake protects against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in high-fat diet–fed mice

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Science Translational Medicine  21 Sep 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 357, pp. 357ra122
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf4823

Blocking bile acids to protect the liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is associated with the metabolic syndrome, is becoming increasingly common, and there is no specific treatment available. Although the pathogenesis of this disorder is not yet fully understood, it is known that bile acids play key roles in lipid metabolism. Rao et al. have now identified a drug that can be given by mouth and is not systemically absorbed, but inhibits bile acid absorption from the intestine and thereby reduces the severity of fatty liver disease in a mouse model. In addition to its beneficial effects on the liver, the treatment improved glucose tolerance and cholesterol concentrations in the treated animals, suggesting that it may be useful for treating multiple components of the metabolic syndrome.