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P777 Ursodeoxycholic acid and its taurine/glycine conjugated species reduce colitogenic dysbiosis and equally suppress experimental colitis in mice

Van den Bossche L.*1, Hindryckx P.1, Devisscher L.1, Devriese S.1, Van Welden S.1, Holvoet T.1, Vilchez-Vargas R.2, Vital M.3, Pieper D.H.3, Vanden Bussche J.4, Vanhaecke L.4, Van de Wiele T.2, De Vos M.1, Laukens D.1

1Ghent University, Department of gastroenterology, Ghent, Belgium 2Ghent University, Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology, Ghent, Belgium 3Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Department of Medical Microbiology, Braunschweig, Germany 4Ghent University, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Ghent, Belgium


The promising results with secondary bile acids in experimental colitis suggest that they may represent an attractive and safe class of drugs for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). However, the exact mechanism by which bile acid therapy confers protection from colitogenesis is currently unknown. Since the gut microbiota plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of IBD, and exogenous bile acid administration may affect the community structure of the microbiota, we examined the impact of the secondary bile acid ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and its taurine/glycine conjugates on the faecal microbial community structure during experimental colitis.


Acute colitis was induced in mice by administration of 4% dextran sodium sulfate to the drinking water for 7 days. Mice were treated with 500 mg/kg/d UDCA, tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), glycoursodeoxycholic acid (GUDCA), or placebo by oral gavage. At day 9 of colitis, faecal microbiota profiles were determined through 16S rRNA Illumina MiSeq sequencing and mice were sacrificed at day 10 to assess the severity of inflammation. Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry were performed on faecal samples to analyse the extent of biotransformation of orally administered UDCA, TUDCA and GUDCA.


Daily administration of UDCA, TUDCA and GUDCA equally lowered the severity of colitis, as evidenced by reduced body weight loss, colonic shortening and expression of inflammatory cytokines. Illumina sequencing demonstrated that bile acid therapy during colitis did not restore faecal bacterial richness and diversity but normalized the colitis-associated increased ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. Interestingly, administration of bile acids prevented the loss of Clostridium cluster XIVa and increased the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila, bacterial species known to be particularly decreased in IBD patients. Orally administered UDCA, TUDCA and GUDCA were extensively metabolised in vivo, resulting in a similar faecal bile acid composition.


We conclude that UDCA, which is an FDA-approved drug for cholestatic liver disorders, could be an attractive treatment option to reduce dysbiosis and improve inflammation in human IBD.