Total bile acids are metabolized in the liver and hence serve as a marker for liver function. In serum, the total bile acids are increased in patients with acute hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, liver sclerosis and liver cancer.
Bile is a yellow-green fluid that is made by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and passes through the common bile duct into the duodenum where it helps digest fat. The principal components of bile are cholesterol, bile salts, and the pigment bilirubin.
An imbalance between these components of bile leads to the formation of gallstones. Gallstones can thus be composed of different materials. Cholesterol gallstones form when there is an imbalance between the amounts of cholesterol and the bile salts.
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)
ICP can be monitored by serum Total Bile Acids tests. Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disease which only occurs during pregnancy (usually during late pregnancy). It happens when pregnancy hormones affect the flow of bile in the gallbladder. Bile acids then pile up in the liver and are released into the bloodstream.
Salient features of Bile acids
- Measuring range is 0.28 μmol/L to 150 μmol/L
- Colorimetric test with endpoint determination