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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2017 Jul 1;313(1):G1-G6. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00028.2017. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

Pregnancy and bile acid disorders.

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Division of Women's Health, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.
Division of Women's Health, King's College London, London, United Kingdom


During pregnancy, extensive adaptations in maternal metabolic and immunological physiology occur. Consequently, preexisting disease may be exacerbated or attenuated, and new disease susceptibility may be unmasked. Cholestatic diseases, characterized by a supraphysiological raise in bile acid levels, require careful monitoring during pregnancy. This review describes the latest advances in the knowledge of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), the most common bile acid disorder specific to pregnancy, with a focus on the disease etiology and potential mechanisms of ICP-associated adverse pregnancy outcomes, including fetal demise. The course of preexisting cholestatic conditions in pregnancy is considered, including primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cholangitis, biliary atresia, and Alagille syndrome. The currently accepted treatments for cholestasis in pregnancy and promising new therapeutics for the condition are described.


bile acid; cholestasis; liver disease; pregnancy

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