Deoxycholic acid supplementation impairs glucose homeostasis in mice

Bile acids are critical contributors to the regulation of whole body glucose homeostasis; however, the mechanisms remain incompletely defined. While the hydrophilic bile acid subtype, ursodeoxycholic acid, has been shown to attenuate hepatic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and thereby improve glucose regulation in mice, the effect of hydrophobic bile acid subtypes on ER stress and glucose regulation in vivo is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effect of the hydrophobic bile acid subtype, deoxycholic acid (DCA), on ER stress and glucose regulation. Eight week old C57BL/6J mice were fed a high fat diet supplemented with or without DCA. Glucose regulation was assessed by oral glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance testing. In addition, circulating bile acid profile and hepatic insulin and ER stress signaling were measured. DCA supplementation did not alter body weight or food intake, but did impair glucose regulation. Consistent with the impairment in glucose regulation, DCA increased the hydrophobicity of the circulating bile acid profile, decreased hepatic insulin signaling and increased hepatic ER stress signaling. Together, these data suggest that dietary supplementation of DCA impairs whole body glucose regulation by disrupting hepatic ER homeostasis in mice.