TUDCA/UDCA - NutraHacker Journal Club

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The Unexpected Uses of Urso- and Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid in the Treatment of Non-liver Diseases

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is the taurine conjugate of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a US Food and Drug Administration-approved hydrophilic bile acid for the treatment of certain cholestatic liver diseases. There is a growing body of research on the mechanism(s) of TUDCA and its potential therapeutic effect on a wide variety of non-liver diseases. Both UDCA and TUDCA are potent inhibitors of apoptosis, in part by interfering with the upstream mitochondrial pathway of cell death, inhibiting oxygen-radical production, reducing endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and stabilizing the unfolded protein response (UPR). Several studies have demonstrated that TUDCA serves as an anti-apoptotic agent for a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. In addition, TUDCA plays an important role in protecting against cell death in certain retinal disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa. It has been shown to reduce ER stress associated with elevated glucose levels in diabetes by inhibiting caspase activation, up-regulating the UPR, and inhibiting reactive oxygen species. Obesity, stroke, acute myocardial infarction, spinal cord injury, and a long list of acute and chronic non-liver diseases associated with apoptosis are all potential therapeutic targets for T/UDCA. A growing number of pre-clinical and clinical studies underscore the potential benefit of this simple, naturally occurring bile acid, which has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 3000 years.

Coenzyme Q 10 supplementation: A potential therapeutic option for the treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a pregnancy specific liver disease characterized by pruritus, elevated serum bile acids and abnormal liver function that may be associated with severe adverse pregnancy outcomes. We previously reported that plasma coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is decreased in women with ICP as it is its analogue coenzyme Q9 (CoQ9) in rats with ethinyl estradiol (EE)-induced cholestasis. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible therapeutic role of CoQ10 in experimental hepatocellular cholestasis and to compare it with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) supplementation. Bile acids, CoQ9, CoQ10, transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, retinol, α-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, carbonyls, glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase were assessed in plasma, liver and/or hepatic mitochondria in control and cholestatic rats supplemented with CoQ10 (250 mg/kg) administered alone or combined with UDCA (25 mg/kg). CoQ10 supplementation prevented bile flow decline (P < 0.05) and the increase in serum alkaline phosphatase and bile acids, particularly lithocholic acid (P < 0.05) in cholestatic rats. Furthermore, it also improved oxidative stress parameters in the liver, increased both CoQ10 and CoQ9 plasma levels and partially prevented the fall in α-tocopherol (P < 0.05). UDCA also prevented cholestasis, but it was less efficient than CoQ10 to improve the liver redox environment. Combined administration of CoQ10 and UDCA resulted in additive effects. In conclusion, present findings show that CoQ10 supplementation attenuated EE-induced cholestasis by promoting a favorable redox environment in the liver, and further suggest that it may represent an alternative therapeutic option for ICP.

The bile acid TUDCA and neurodegenerative disorders: An overview

Bear bile has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years due to its therapeutic potential and clinical applications. The tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), one of the acids found in bear bile, is a hydrophilic bile acid and naturally produced in the liver by conjugation of taurine to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). Several studies have shown that TUDCA has neuroprotective action in several models of neurodegenerative disorders (ND), including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease, based on its potent ability to inhibit apoptosis, attenuate oxidative stress, and reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress in different experimental models of these illnesses. Our research extends the knowledge of the bile acid TUDCA actions in ND and the mechanisms and pathways involved in its cytoprotective effects on the brain, providing a novel perspective and opportunities for treatment of these diseases.

Supplementation of ursodeoxycholic acid improves fat digestion and absorption in cystic fibrosis patients with mild liver involvement

Background: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) supplementation is recommended for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with associated liver disease. However, its effect on fat digestion and absorption is not known. Materials and methods: In 23 patients with mild liver involvement, a C-mixed triglyceride breath test was performed on UDCA supplementation (with and without pancreatic enzymes - standard and increased dose) and after 1 month of UDCA withdrawal. Cumulative percentage dose recovery [CPDR; median (interquartile range)] has been considered to reflect lipid digestion and absorption. Results: The enzyme supplementation resulted in a significant CPDR improvement [0% (0-0) vs. 4.6% (0.4-6.0); P<0.00046]. With the increased dose of enzymes in 16 patients with abnormal C-mixed triglyceride breath test results and lipase dose less than 3000 U/g of fat, higher CPDR values [8.6% (5.6-12.7); P<0.000027] were observed. However, a 1-month UDCA withdrawal resulted in a significant reduction in (P<0.000031) fat digestion and absorption [2.9% (0.7-5.8)]. Conclusion: UDCA supplementation seems to enhance lipid digestion and absorption in pancreatic insufficient CF patients with mild liver involvement. This finding points toward the potential impact of UDCA supplementation on nutritional status in CF patients with liver disease and underscores the often overlooked role of factors other than pancreatic enzymes on digestion and absorption of fats in CF.

Beneficial effects of UDCA and norUDCA in a rodent model of steatosis are linked to modulation of GPBAR1/FXR signaling

Non-alcoholic steatosis (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis (NASH) are two highly prevalent human disorders for which therapy remains suboptimal. Bile acids play an essential role in regulating liver metabolism, and several bile acids-based therapy are currently investigated for their potential therapeutic efficacy in NAFLD/NASH. Bile acids exert their functions, at least in part, by modulating two main receptors the Farnesoid-x-receptor (FXR) and the G protein-coupled receptor, GPBAR1. In the present study we have compared the pharmacological effects of two bile acids, the ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and its derivative norUDCA, in a model of NAFLD/NASH induced by feeding mice with a Western diet for 12 weeks. The results of these studies demonstrated that both UDCA and norUDCA protected against development of steatosis and fibrosis, but did not reduce the hepatocytes ballooning nor the development of a pro-atherogenic lipid profile. Both agents reduced liver lipogenesis and ameliorated insulin sensitivity and adipocytes signaling as shown by increased expression of adiponectin. Mechanistically, UDCA acts as weak GPBAR1 agonist, while norUDCA exerted no effect on both GPBAR1 and FXR. In vivo administration of UDCA resets bile acid synthesis and promotes a shift toward bile acids species that are GPBAR1 agonists, UDCA, TUDCA and hyodeoxycholic acid, and increases GLP1 expression in the ileum. In contrast norUDCA is poorly metabolized exerting a minimal impact on GPBAR1 signaling. Together, these data, highlight the potential role of UDCA and norUDCA in treating of NAFLD, though these beneficial effects are supported by different mechanisms.

The Taurine-Conjugated Bile Acid (TUDCA) Normalizes Insulin Secretion in Pancreatic β-Cells Exposed to Fatty Acids: The Role of Mitochondrial Metabolism

Bile acid tauroursodeoxycholic (TUDCA), formed from the association of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) with taurine, has already been shown to increase mitochondrial biogenesis and cell survival, in addition to reduce reticulum stress markers in different cell types. However, its mechanism of action upon insulin secretion control in obesity is still unknown. In this sense, we seek to clarify whether taurine, associated with bile acid, could improve the function of the pancreatic β-cells exposed to fatty acids through the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism. To test this idea, insulin-producing cells (INS1-E) were exposed to a fatty acid mix containing 500 μM of each palmitate and oleate for 48 hours treated or not with 300 μM of TUDCA. After that, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and markers of mitochondrial metabolism were evaluated. Our results showed that the fatty acid mix was efficient in inducing hyperfunction of INS1-E cells as observed by the increase in insulin secretion, protein expression of citrate synthase, and mitochondrial density, without altering cell viability. The treatment with TUDCA normalized insulin secretion, reducing the protein expression of citrate synthase, mitochondrial mass, and the mitochondrial membrane potential. This effect was associated with a decrease in the generation of mitochondrial superoxide and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) protein content. The findings are also consistent with the hypothesis that TUDCA normalizes insulin secretion by improving mitochondrial metabolism and redox balance. Thus, it highlights likely mechanisms of the action of this bile acid on the glycemic homeostasis reestablishment in obesity.

Comparative Analysis of Urso- and Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Neuroprotective Effects on Retinal Degeneration Models

Ursodeoxycholic (UDCA) and tauroursodeoxycholic (TUDCA) acids have shown neuroprotective properties in neurodegenerative diseases, but differential effects of the two bile acids have been poorly explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of UDCA versus TUDCA in a neuroretinal degeneration model and to compare transcriptionally regulated pathways. The WERI-Rb-1 human cone-like cell line and retinal explants were exposed to albumin and TUDCA or UDCA. Viability, cell death, and microglial activation were quantified. Transcriptionally regulated pathways were analyzed after RNA sequencing using the edgeR bioconductor package. Pre-treatment of cone-like cells with UDCA or TUDCA significantly protected cells from albumin toxicity. On retinal explants, either bile acid reduced apoptosis, necroptosis, and microglia activation at 6 h. TUDCA induced the regulation of 463 genes, whilst 31 genes were regulated by UDCA. Only nineteen common genes were regulated by both bile acids, mainly involved in iron control, cell death, oxidative stress, and cell metabolism. As compared to UDCA, TUDCA up-regulated genes involved in endoplasmic reticulum stress pathways and down-regulated genes involved in axonal and neuronal development. Either bile acid protected against albumin-induced cell loss. However, TUDCA regulated substantially more neuroprotective genes than UDCA.

From dried bear bile to molecular investigation: A systematic review of the effect of bile acids on cell apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, across pre-clinical models of neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders

Bile acids, mainly ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and its conjugated species glycoursodeoxycholic acid (GUDCA) and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) have long been known to have anti-apoptotic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to their beneficial actions, recent studies have started to investigate the effect of UDCA, GUDCA, TUDCA on the same mechanisms in pre-clinical models of neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, where increased cell apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain are often observed. A total of thirty-five pre-clinical studies were identified through PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, Embase, PsychInfo, and CINAHL databases, investigating the role of the UDCA, GUDCA and TUDCA in the regulation of brain apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation, in pre-clinical models of neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Findings show that UDCA reduces apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α production in neurodegenerative models, and reduces nitric oxide (NO) and interleukin (IL)-1β production in neuropsychiatric models; GUDCA decreases lactate dehydrogenase, TNF-α and IL-1β production in neurological models, and also reduces cytochrome c peroxidase production in neurodegenerative models; TUDCA decreases apoptosis in neurological models, reduces ROS and IL-1β production in neurodegenerative models, and decreases apoptosis and TNF-α production, and increases glutathione production in neuropsychiatric models. In addition, findings suggest that all the three bile acids would be equally beneficial in models of Huntington's disease, whereas UDCA and TUDCA would be more beneficial in models of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, while GUDCA in models of bilirubin encephalopathy and TUDCA in models of depression. Overall, this review confirms the therapeutic potential of UDCA, GUDCA and TUDCA in neurological, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, proposing bile acids as potential alternative therapeutic approaches for patients suffering from these disorders.

Bile acids: regulation of apoptosis by ursodeoxycholic acid

Bile acids are a group of molecular species of acidic steroids with peculiar physical-chemical and biological characteristics. At high concentrations they become toxic to mammalian cells, and their presence is pertinent in the pathogenesis of several liver diseases and colon cancer. Bile acid cytoxicity has been related to membrane damage, but also to nondetergent effects, such as oxidative stress and apoptosis. Strikingly, hydrophilic ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), and its taurine-conjugated form (TUDCA), show profound cytoprotective properties. Indeed, these molecules have been described as potent inhibitors of classic pathways of apoptosis, although their precise mode of action remains to be clarified. UDCA, originally used for cholesterol gallstone dissolution, is currently considered the first choice therapy for several forms of cholestatic syndromes. However, the beneficial effects of both UDCA and TUDCA have been tested in other experimental pathological conditions with deregulated levels of apoptosis, including neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Here, we review the role of bile acids in modulating the apoptosis process, emphasizing the anti-apoptotic effects of UDCA and TUDCA, as well as their potential use as novel and alternate therapeutic agents for the treatment of apoptosis-related diseases.

Effect of tauroursodeoxycholic and ursodeoxycholic acid on ethanol-induced cell injuries in the human Hep G2 cell line

Background & aims: Taurodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) exert a protective effect in chronic cholestasis. This study reports the effect of TUDCA and UDCA on an in vitro model for ethanol-induced liver damage. Methods: Hep G2 cells were incubated for 24 hours with 80 mmol/L ethanol in the presence or absence of 50 mumol/L TUDCA or UDCA. Cells were also pretreated with 80 mmol/L EtOH and then exposed to 50 mumol/L bile acids. Cytotoxicity was assessed by the metabolism of formazan (3-(4,5-dimethyl-thiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide and sodium 3,3'-(phenylamino) carbonyl-3,4-tetrazolium-bis (4-methoxy-6-nitro) benzene sulfonic acid hydrase and by the release into the culture medium of different enzymes (aspartate aminotransferase, glutamate dehydrogenase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, and lactate dehydrogenase). Results: The incubation of Hep G2 with EtOH significantly (P < 0.001) increased cytotoxicity. Both TUDCA or UDCA reduced cytoxicity to a similar extent (P < 0.001). Cells pretreated with EtOH and then added with TUDCA or UDCA responded differently because TUDCA was significantly more effective (P < 0.05) than an equimolar dose of UDCA in reversing the damage. Electron microscopic examination revealed that TUDCA and UDCA were both able to prevent mitochondrial damage and to reduce steatosis induced by EtOH. Conclusions: Low doses of TUDCA and UDCA protect Hep G2 cells from EtOH-induced cytotoxicity. However, TUDCA seems to be more effective than UDCA in reversing the damage.

Intestinal absorption and biliary secretion of ursodeoxycholic acid and its taurine conjugate

Background: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and its taurine conjugate (TUDCA) exert a protective effect in cholestatic liver diseases. A greater hepatoprotective effect of TUDCA has been suggested. Absorption appears to be a limiting factor and up to now has not been studied in man. Methods: We studied absorption and biliary bile acid secretion and composition after administration of UDCA and TUDCA in patients who had complete extrahepatic biliary obstruction caused by pancreatic carcinoma but had no intestinal or liver disease. After 5 days of intact enterohepatic circulation eight patients with a percutaneous biliary-duodenal drainage received, during two study periods, 1000 mg (1916.9 micromol; mean 29.6 micromol kg(-1)) TUDCA and 750 mg (1910.4 micromol; mean 29.5 micromol kg(-1)) UDCA in random order. Each patient served as his own control. Results: After UDCA and TUDCA administration the biliary UDCA content increased to 55.2% and 54.6% of total bile acids, respectively (not significant). Biliary secretion of cholic and chenodeoxycholic acids remained unchanged whereas that of lithocholic acid increased slightly. A total of 64.6% of the orally administered TUDCA and 55.1% of the UDCA was absorbed (not significant). After TUDCA administration, biliary UDCA was preferentially (95.4%) taurine-conjugated whereas after UDCA administration biliary UDCA was mainly (79.8%) glycine-conjugated. Conclusions: After oral administration of TUDCA and UDCA, no significant differences in their absorption and in biliary bile acid secretion exist. Whether biliary enrichment with taurine conjugates of UDCA instead of glycine conjugates offers advantages in the treatment of cholestatic liver disease is unclear at present.

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid reduces damaging effects of taurodeoxycholic acid on fundus gastric mucosa

We investigated the effects of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) to assess whether this acid may also have "protective" effects similar to those found with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). We used a well-known amphibian model of gastric mucosa, and studied the effects of taurodeoxycholic acid (TDCA) on electrical transepithelial parameters, acid secretion and histology in absence or in presence of TUDCA. Mucosal exposure to TDCA, after stimulation with histamine, caused a reduction in transepithelial potential difference (V(t)) and transepithelial resistance (R(t)) and a decrease in acid secretion while mucosal exposure to TUDCA did not cause a significant change in the electrical parameters. Moreover, TDCA primarily affected the neck cells, while TUDCA affected only oxyntic cells, causing a similar degree of injury to that observed in controls. Mucosal exposure to TUDCA plus TDCA caused a reduction in short circuit current (I(sc)) and R(t), whereas acid secretion did not change. These results suggest that: (1) TUDCA reduces the damaging effects of TDCA on fundus gastric mucosa; (2) TUDCA may play an important role in the treatment of gastritis associated with bile reflux.

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid protects rat hepatocytes from bile acid-induced apoptosis via activation of survival pathways

Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is used in the treatment of cholestatic liver diseases, but its mechanism of action is not yet well defined. The aim of this study was to explore the protective mechanisms of the taurine-conjugate of UDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid [TUDCA]) against glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA)-induced apoptosis in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. Hepatocytes were exposed to GCDCA, TUDCA, the glyco-conjugate of UDCA (GUDCA), and TCDCA. The phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase pathway (PI3K) and nuclear factor-kappaB were inhibited using LY 294002 and adenoviral overexpression of dominant-negative IkappaB, respectively. The role of p38 and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways were investigated using the inhibitors SB 203580 and U0 126 and Western blot analysis. Transcription was blocked by actinomycin-D. Apoptosis was determined by measuring caspase-3, -9, and -8 activity using fluorimetric enzyme detection, Western blot analysis, immunocytochemistry, and nuclear morphological analysis. Our results demonstrated that uptake of GCDCA is needed for apoptosis induction. TUDCA, but not TCDCA and GUDCA, rapidly inhibited, but did not delay, apoptosis at all time points tested. However, the protective effect of TUDCA was independent of its inhibition of caspase-8. Up to 6 hours of preincubation with TUDCA before addition of GCDCA clearly decreased GCDCA-induced apoptosis. At up to 1.5 hours after exposure with GCDCA, the addition of TUDCA was still protective. This protection was dependent on activation of p38, ERK MAPK, and PI3K pathways, but independent of competition on the cell membrane, NF-kappaB activation, and transcription. In conclusion, TUDCA contributes to the protection against GCDCA-induced mitochondria-controlled apoptosis by activating survival pathways.

Oxidative stress mediates ethanol-induced skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and dysregulated protein synthesis and autophagy

Protein synthesis and autophagy are regulated by cellular ATP content. We tested the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction, including generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), contributes to impaired protein synthesis and increased proteolysis resulting in tissue atrophy in a comprehensive array of models. In myotubes treated with ethanol, using unbiased approaches, we identified defects in mitochondrial electron transport chain components, endogenous antioxidants, and enzymes regulating the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Using high sensitivity respirometry, we observed impaired cellular respiration, decreased function of complexes I, II, and IV, and a reduction in oxidative phosphorylation in ethanol-treated myotubes and muscle from ethanol-fed mice. These perturbations resulted in lower skeletal muscle ATP content and redox ratio (NAD+/NADH). Ethanol also caused a leak of electrons, primarily from complex III, with generation of mitochondrial ROS and reverse electron transport. Oxidant stress with lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) and protein oxidation (carbonylated proteins) were increased in myotubes and skeletal muscle from mice and humans with alcoholic liver disease. Ethanol also impaired succinate oxidation in the TCA cycle with decreased metabolic intermediates. MitoTEMPO, a mitochondrial specific antioxidant, reversed ethanol-induced mitochondrial perturbations (including reduced oxygen consumption, generation of ROS and oxidative stress), increased TCA cycle intermediates, and reversed impaired protein synthesis and the sarcopenic phenotype. We show that ethanol causes skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction, decreased protein synthesis, and increased autophagy, and that these perturbations are reversed by targeting mitochondrial ROS.

Conjugation is essential for the anticholestatic effect of NorUrsodeoxycholic acid in taurolithocholic acid-induced cholestasis in rat liver

NorUDCA (24-norursodeoxycholic acid), the C₂₃-homolog of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), showed remarkable therapeutic effects in cholestatic Mdr2 (Abcb4) (multidrug resistance protein 2/ATP-binding cassette b4) knockout mice with sclerosing/fibrosing cholangitis. In contrast to UDCA, norUDCA is inefficiently conjugated in human and rodent liver, and conjugation has been discussed as a key step for the anticholestatic action of UDCA in cholestasis. We compared the choleretic, anticholestatic, and antiapoptotic properties of unconjugated and taurine-conjugated UDCA (C₂₄) and norUDCA (C₂₃) in isolated perfused rat liver (IPRL) and in natrium/taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (Ntcp)-transfected human hepatoma (HepG2) cells. Taurolithocholic acid (TLCA) was used to induce a predominantly hepatocellular cholestasis in IPRL. Bile flow was determined gravimetrically; bile acids determined by gas chromatography and liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry; the Mrp2 model substrate, 2,4-dinitrophenyl-S-glutathione (GS-DNP) was determined spectrophotometrically; and apoptosis was determined immunocytochemically. The choleretic effect of C₂₃-bile acids was comparable to their C₂₄-homologs in IPRL. In contrast, TnorUDCA, but not norUDCA antagonized the cholestatic effect of TLCA. Bile flow (percent of controls) was 8% with TLCA-induced cholestasis, and unchanged by coinfusion of norUDCA (14%). However, it was increased by TnorUDCA (83%), UDCA (73%) and TUDCA (136%). Secretion of GS-DNP was markedly reduced by TLCA (5%), unimproved by norUDCA (4%) or UDCA (17%), but was improved modestly by TnorUDCA (26%) or TUDCA (58%). No apoptosis was observed in IPRL exposed to low micromolar TLCA, but equivalent antiapoptotic effects of TUDCA and TnorUDCA were observed in Ntcp-HepG2 cells exposed to TLCA. Conclusion: Conjugation is essential for the anticholestatic effect of norUDCA in a model of hepatocellular cholestasis. Combined therapy with UDCA and norUDCA may be superior to UDCA or norUDCA monotherapy in biliary disorders in which hepatocyte as well as cholangiocyte dysfunction contribute to disease progression.

Efficacy and safety of tauroursodeoxycholic acid in the treatment of liver cirrhosis: a double-blind randomized controlled trial

No direct comparison of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has yet been carried out in the treatment of liver cirrhosis in China. We designed a double-blind randomized trial to evaluate the potential therapeutic efficacy of TUDCA in liver cirrhosis, using UDCA as parallel control. The enrolled 23 patients with liver cirrhosis were randomly divided into TUDCA group (n=12) and UDCA group (n=11), and given TUDCA and UDCA respectively at the daily dose of 750 mg, in a randomly assigned sequence for a 6-month period. Clinical, biochemical and histological features, and liver ultrasonographic findings were evaluated before and after the study. According to the inclusion criteria, 18 patients were included in the final analysis, including 9 cases in both two groups. Serum ALT, AST and ALP levels in TUDCA group and AST levels in UDCA group were significantly reduced as compared with baseline (P<0.05). Serum albumin levels were significantly increased in both TUDCA and UDCA groups (P<0.05). Serum markers for liver fibrosis were slightly decreased with the difference being not significant in either group. Only one patient in TUDCA group had significantly histological relief. Both treatments were well tolerated and no patient complained of side effects. It is suggested that TUDCA therapy is safe and appears to be more effective than UDCA in the treatment of liver cirrhosis, particularly in the improvement of the biochemical expression. However, both drugs exert no effect on the serum markers for liver fibrosis during 6-month treatment.

Hepatoprotection in ethinylestradiol-treated rats is provided by tauroursodeoxycholic acid, but not by ursodeoxycholic acid

Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) have been suggested as potential treatments for drug-induced cholestasis. It was therefore decided to study the effects of administration of UDCA or TUDCA on individual serum bile acid concentration, conventional liver tests and associated hepatic ultrastructural changes in ethinylestradiol-treated (EE) rats mg/kg per day). Control rats were treated s.c. with propylene glycol. EE-treated rats were randomly assigned to receive daily i.p. injections of placebo, TUDCA or UDCA. Four rats in each group were treated for 4 consecutive days, and a second four for 14 days. After 4 days of treatment, the serum levels of cholic acid and taurocholic acid were significantly increased in EE-treated rats. None of the conventional liver tests were significantly different among the four groups. After 14 days of treatment the serum levels of cholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid, glycocholic acid, glycochenodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, taurochenodeoxycholic acid, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase and gamma glutamyltransferase were significantly raised in EE and EE plus UDCA treated rats. EE plus TUDCA treated rats, however, had no significant changes in these individual serum bile acids or conventional liver tests. The ultrastructure of livers from EE plus TUDCA treated rats was similar to those of controls. On the other hand, EE and EE plus UDCA rats both showed a significant reduction in sinusoidal microvilli. These results show that treatment of rats for 4 days with EE induces significant rises in the serum concentrations of two individual bile acids and that TUDCA protects against this.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Bile Acids Reduce Prion Conversion, Reduce Neuronal Loss, and Prolong Male Survival in Models of Prion Disease

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders associated with the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) into its aberrant infectious form (PrPSc). There is no treatment available for these diseases. The bile acids tauroursodeoxycholic acid(TUDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) have been recently shown to be neuroprotective in other protein misfolding disease models, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and also in humans with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Here, we studied the therapeutic efficacy of these compounds in prion disease. We demonstrated that TUDCA and UDCA substantially reduced PrP conversion in cell-free aggregation assays, as well as in chronically and acutely infected cell cultures. This effect was mediated through reduction of PrPSc seeding ability, rather than an effect on PrPC. We also demonstrated the ability of TUDCA and UDCA to reduce neuronal loss in prion-infected cerebellar slice cultures. UDCA treatment reduced astrocytosis and prolonged survival in RML prion-infected mice. Interestingly, these effects were limited to the males, implying a gender-specific difference in drug metabolism. Beyond effects on PrPSc, we found that levels of phosphorylated eIF2 were increased at early time points, with correlated reductions in postsynaptic density protein 95. As demonstrated for other neurodegenerative diseases, we now show that TUDCA and UDCA may have a therapeutic role in prion diseases, with effects on both prion conversion and neuroprotection. Our findings, together with the fact that these natural compounds are orally bioavailable, permeable to the blood-brain barrier, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for use in humans, make these compounds promising alternatives for the treatment of prion diseases. Importance: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases that are transmissible to humans and other mammals. There are no disease-modifying therapies available, despite decades of research. Treatment targets have included inhibition of protein accumulation,clearance of toxic aggregates, and prevention of downstream neurodegeneration. No one target may be sufficient; rather, compounds which have a multimodal mechanism, acting on different targets, would be ideal. TUDCA and UDCA are bile acids that may fulfill this dual role. Previous studies have demonstrated their neuroprotective effects in several neurodegenerative disease models, and we now demonstrate that this effect occurs in prion disease, with an added mechanistic target of upstream prion seeding. Importantly, these are natural compounds which are orally bioavailable, permeable to the blood-brain barrier, and U.S.Food and Drug Administration-approved for use in humans with primary biliary cirrhosis. They have recently been proven efficacious in human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Therefore, these compounds are promising options for the treatment of prion diseases.

A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of TUDCA and UDCA in Chinese patients with primary biliary cholangitis

Aim: Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is a taurine conjugated form of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) with higher hydrophility. To further evaluate the efficacy and safety of TUDCA for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), we performed this study on Chinese patients. Methods: 199 PBC patients were randomly assigned to either 250 mg TUDCA plus UDCA placebo or 250 mg UDCA plus TUDCA placebo, 3 times per day for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was defined as percentage of patients achieving serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) reduction of more than 25% from baseline. Results: At week 24, 75.97% of patients in the TUDCA group and 80.88% of patients in the UDCA group achieved a serum ALP reduction of more than 25% from baseline (P = 0.453). The percentage of patients with serum ALP levels declined more than 40% following 24 weeks of treatment was 55.81% in the TUDCA group and 52.94% in the UDCA group (P = 0.699). Both groups showed similar improvement in serum levels of ALP, aspartate aminotransferase, and total bilirubin (P > 0.05). The proportion of patients with pruritus/scratch increased from 1.43% to 10.00% in UDCA group, while there's no change in TUDCA group (P = 0.023). Both drugs were well tolerated, with comparable adverse event rates between the 2 groups. Conclusions: TUDCA is safe and as efficacious as UDCA for the treatment of PBC, and may be better to relieve symptoms than UDCA.

Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment of vanishing bile duct syndromes

Vanishing bile duct syndromes (VBDS) are characterized by progressive loss of small intrahepatic ducts caused by a variety of different diseases leading to chronic cholestasis, cirrhosis, and premature death from liver failure. The majority of adult patients with VBDS suffer from primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a hydrophilic dihydroxy bile acid, is the only drug currently approved for the treatment of patients with PBC, and anticholestatic effects have been reported for several other cholestatic syndromes. Several potential mechanisms of action of UDCA have been proposed including stimulation of hepatobiliary secretion, inhibition of apoptosis and protection of cholangiocytes against toxic effects of hydrophobic bile acids.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid May Inhibit Environmental Aging-Associated Hyperpigmentation

Extrinsic aging of the skin caused by ultraviolet (UV) light or particulate matter is often manifested by hyperpigmentation due to increased melanogenesis in senescent skin. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which has been commonly used as a health remedy for liver diseases, is known to possess antioxidant properties. This study was done to investigate whether UDCA inhibits cellular aging processes in the cells constituting human skin and it reduces melanin synthesis. ROS, intracellular signals, IL-1α, IL-8, TNF-α, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, type I collagen, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) levels were measured in human dermal fibroblasts treated with or without UDCA after UV exposure. Melanin levels and mechanistic pathways for melanogenesis were investigated. UDCA decreased ROS, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), and proinflammatory cytokines induced by UV treatment. UDCA reduced melanogenesis in normal human melanocytes cocultured with skin constituent cells. Our results suggest that UDCA could be a comprehensive agent for the treatment of environmental aging-associated hyperpigmentation disorders.

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