Bile acids (BAs) are cholesterol-derived compounds that regulate glucose, lipid, and energy metabolism. Despite their significance in glucose homeostasis, the association between specific BA molecular species and their synthetic pathways with diabetes mellitus (DM) is unclear. Here, we used a recently validated stable-isotope dilution highperformance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method to quantify a panel of BAs in fasting plasma from subjects (n=2,145) and explored structural and genetic determinants of BAs linked to DM, insulin resistance and obesity. Multiple 12α-hydroxylated BAs were associated with DM [adjusted odds ratios (aORs):1.3-1.9 (all P<0.05)] and insulin resistance [aORs:1.3-2.2 (all P<0.05)]. Conversely, multiple 6a-hydroxylated BAs and isolithocholic acid (Iso-LCA) were inversely associated with DM and obesity [aORs:0.3-0.9 (all P<0.05)]. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) revealed multiple genome-wide significant loci linked with nine of the 14 DM-associated BAs, including a locus for Iso-LCA (rs11866815). Mendelian randomization analyses showed genetically elevated DCA levels were causally associated with higher BMI, and Iso-LCA levels were causally associated with reduced BMI and DM risk. In conclusion, comprehensive large-scale quantitative mass spectrometry and genetics analyses show circulating levels of multiple structurally specific BAs, especially DCA and Iso-LCA, are clinically associated with and genetically linked to obesity and DM.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.25731687.

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