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Enzymatic quantification of total serum bile acids as a monitoring strategy for women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy receiving ursodeoxycholic acid treatment: a cohort study

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Luiza Borges Manna, Caroline Ovadia, Anita Lövgren-Sandblom, Jenny Chambers, Shahina Begum, Paul Seed, Ian Walker, Lucy C Chappell, Hanns-Ulrich Marschall, Catherine Williamson

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2019

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate enzymatic total serum bile acid quantification as a monitoring strategy for women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA).

DESIGN: Cohort.

SETTING: One UK university hospital.

POPULATION: 29 ICP cases treated with UDCA.

METHODS: Serial samples were collected prospectively throughout gestation. Total serum bile acids were measured enzymatically and individual bile acids by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Data were log-transformed and analysed with random effects generalised least square regression.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The relationship between enzymatic total bile acid measurements and individual bile acid concentrations after UDCA treatment.

RESULTS: In untreated women cholic acid was the principal bile acid (51%) and UDCA concentrations were <0.5%, whereas UDCA comprised 60% (IQR 43-69) of serum bile acids following treatment and cholic acid fell to <20%. Changes in the total bile acid measurement reflected similar alterations in the concentrations of the pathologically elevated bile acids, e.g. a two-fold increase in enzymatic total bile acids is accompanied by approximately a two-fold increase in cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid at most UDCA doses (p<0.001). Most of the effects of UDCA on cholic acid occur in the first week of treatment (60% relative reduction, p=0.025, 95% CI 0.2-0.9, from 10μmol/L (4.7-17.6) to 3.5μmol/L (1.4-7.5).

CONCLUSION: UDCA becomes the main component of the bile acid measurement after treatment. Enzymatic total bile acid assays are good predictors of both cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid, the primary bile acids that are raised prior to treatment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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