Ursodeoxycholic acid: a promising therapeutic target for inflammatory bowel diseases?

Stephen J. Keely, Clifford J. Steer, Natalia K. Lajczak-McGinley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The secondary bile acid ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has long been known to have medicinal properties. As the therapeutically active component of bear bile, it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a range of conditions, while manufactured UDCA has been used for decades in Western medicine to treat cholestatic liver diseases. The beneficial qualities of UDCA are thought to be due to its well-established cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory actions. In addition to its established role in treating liver diseases, UDCA is now under investigation for numerous conditions associated with inflammation and apoptosis, including neurological, ocular, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases. Here, we review the growing evidence base from in vitro and in vivo models to suggest that UDCA may also have a role to play in the therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G872-G881
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • bile acid
  • colitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • intestinal barrier
  • ursodeoxycholic acid

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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