Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology

Bile acids inhibit Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger and Cl⁻/HCO₃⁻ exchanger activities via cellular energy breakdown and Ca²⁺ overload in human colonic crypts.

PMID 25015415


Bile acids play important physiological role in the solubilisation and absorption of dietary lipids. However, under pathophysiological conditions, such as short bowel syndrome, they can reach the colon in high concentrations inducing diarrhoea. In this study, our aim was to characterise the cellular pathomechanism of bile-induced diarrhoea using human samples. Colonic crypts were isolated from biopsies of patients (controls with negative colonoscopic findings) and of cholecystectomised/ileum-resected patients with or without diarrhoea. In vitro measurement of the transporter activities revealed impaired Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger (NHE) and Cl⁻/HCO₃⁻ exchanger (CBE) activities in cholecystectomised/ileum-resected patients suffering from diarrhoea, compared to control patients. Acute treatment of colonic crypts with 0.3 mM chenodeoxycholate caused dose-dependent intracellular acidosis; moreover, the activities of acid/base transporters (NHE and CBE) were strongly impaired. This concentration of chenodeoxycholate did not cause morphological changes in colonic epithelial cells, although significantly reduced the intracellular ATP level, decreased mitochondrial transmembrane potential and caused sustained intracellular Ca²⁺ elevation. We also showed that chenodeoxycholate induced Ca²⁺ release from the endoplasmic reticulum and extracellular Ca²⁺ influx contributing to the Ca²⁺ elevation. Importantly, our results suggest that the chenodeoxycholate-induced inhibition of NHE activities was ATP-dependent, whereas the inhibition of CBE activity was mediated by the sustained Ca²⁺ elevation. We suggest that bile acids inhibit the function of ion transporters via cellular energy breakdown and Ca²⁺ overload in human colonic epithelial cells, which can reduce fluid and electrolyte absorption in the colon and promote the development of diarrhea.