Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 19, pp 4541–4549 | Cite as

A review of analytical platforms for accurate bile acid measurement

  • Mainak Dutta
  • Jingwei Cai
  • Wei Gui
  • Andrew D. PattersonEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Young Investigators in (Bio-)Analytical Chemistry


Bile acids are acidic steroids which help in lipid absorption, act as signaling molecules, and are key intermediate molecules between host and gut microbial metabolism. Perturbations in the circulating bile acid pool can lead to dysregulated metabolic and immunological function which may be associated with liver and intestinal disease. Bile acids have chemically diverse structures and are present in a broad range of concentrations in a wide variety of samples with complex biological matrices. Advanced analytical methods are therefore required to identify and accurately quantify individual bile acids. Though enzymatic determination of total bile acid is most popular in clinical laboratories, these methods provide limited information about individual bile acids. Advanced analytical methods such as gas chromatography- and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy are highly informative techniques which help in identification and quantification of individual bile acids in complex biological matrices. Here, we review the detection technologies currently used for bile acid identification and quantification. We further discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these analytical techniques with respect to sensitivity, specificity, robustness, and ease of use.

Graphical abstract


Bile acid Mass spectrometry Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy Gas chromatography Liquid chromatography Enzymatic 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mainak Dutta
    • 1
  • Jingwei Cai
    • 2
  • Wei Gui
    • 2
  • Andrew D. Patterson
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyBirla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Dubai CampusDubaiUAE
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary and Biomedical SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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