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In vitro and animal studies suggest that bile acids have the capacity to reduce blood glucose by stimulating glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and, thereby, insulin. This study evaluated the effects of intrajejunal taurocholic acid (TCA) on blood glucose, GLP-1, and insulin responses to jejunal glucose infusion in healthy men. Ten healthy men were each studied on 2 days in a double-blind, randomized order. After the subjects fasted overnight, a jejunal catheter was positioned and a balloon inflated 30 cm beyond the pylorus with aspiration of endogenous bile. Two grams TCA in saline, or saline control, was infused beyond the balloon over 30 minutes, followed by 2 g TCA or control, together with 60 g glucose, over the next 120 minutes. Blood was sampled frequently for the measurements of blood glucose, total GLP-1, insulin, C-peptide, and glucagon. Intrajejunal infusion of TCA alone (t = -30 to 0 minutes) had no effect on blood glucose, GLP-1, insulin, C-peptide, or glucagon concentrations. During intrajejunal glucose infusion (t = 0 to 120 minutes), blood glucose concentrations were lower (P < .001), and plasma GLP-1 (P < .001) and the C-peptide/glucose ratio (P = .008) were both greater, whereas plasma insulin, C-peptide, and glucagon levels were not significantly different after TCA than after control. In healthy humans, small intestinal infusion of TCA potently reduces the glycemic response to small intestinal glucose, associated with an increase in GLP-1 and C-peptide/glucose ratio. These observations indicate the potential for bile acid-based therapy in type 2 diabetes.


Tongzhi Wu, Michelle J Bound, Scott D Standfield, Karen L Jones, Michael Horowitz, Christopher K Rayner. Effects of taurocholic acid on glycemic, glucagon-like peptide-1, and insulin responses to small intestinal glucose infusion in healthy humans. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2013 Apr;98(4):E718-22

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PMID: 23418316

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