Bile acids (BAs) are not only facilitators participating in the absorption of dietary lipids and soluble vitamins, but are also important signaling molecules exerting versatile biophysiological effects. Three major signaling pathways, including the MAPK pathways, the nuclear hormone receptor farnesoid X receptor a-mediated pathways and the G protein-coupled receptor TGR5/M-BAR-mediated pathways, have been identified to be the targets of BAs. BAs, the biologically many-sided and toxic molecules, regulate the homeostasis of themselves via these signaling pathways. BAs also affect diverse metabolic status including glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, energy expenditure, immunity and others. BAs and their related signaling mechanisms are attractive therapeutic targets of various diseases such as metabolic syndrome.
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