The perturbations in bile acids (BAs) in alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH) and its relationship to disease severity is not well defined. The aims of this study were to define (1) the effects of heavy alcohol consumption on BAs and related microbiome, (2) the additional changes with AH, and (3) the relationship of these changes to disease severity. In this multicenter study, plasma and fecal BAs and related microbiome were interrogated in healthy individuals, heavy drinking controls (HDCs) without overt liver disease, and AH. Compared to healthy controls, HDCs had increased glycine-conjugated 7α and 27α primary BAs and increased secondary BA glycocholenic sulfate (multiple-comparison adjusted P < 0.05 for all). Plasma-conjugated cholic and chenodeoxycholic acid increased in AH along with the secondary BAs ursodeoxycholic and lithocholic acid (P < 0.001 for all), whereas deoxycholic acid decreased; however fecal concentrations of both deoxycholic acid and lithocholic acid were decreased. Glycocholenic acid further increased significantly from HDCs to AH. HDCs and AH had distinct plasma and fecal BA profiles (area under the curve, 0.99 and 0.93, respectively). Plasma taurochenodeoxycholic acid and tauroursodeoxycholic acid were directly related to disease severity, whereas fecal ursodeoxycholic acid was inversely related. The fecal abundance of multiple taxa involved in formation of secondary BAs, especially deoxycholic acid (Clostridium cluster XIVa) was decreased in AH. Multiple genera containing taxa expressing 3α, 3β, 7α, and 7β epimerases were decreased with concordant changes in fecal BAs that required these functions for formation. Conclusion: There are distinct changes in BA-transforming microbiota and corresponding BAs in AH that are related to disease severity.
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