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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001 May;36(5):533-9.

Hydrophilic and hydrophobic bile acids exhibit different cytotoxicities through cytolysis, interleukin-8 synthesis and apoptosis in the intestinal epithelial cell lines. IEC-6 and Caco-2 cells.

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Dept. of Internal Medicine, Nagahama Red Cross Hospital, Nagahama, Shiga, Japan.



Bile acids have been shown to exhibit varying degrees of cytotoxicity, depending on their hydrophobic-hydrophilic balance. We have recently reported the strong cytotoxicity of hyodeoxycholic acid (HDCA), and the aim of the present study is to investigate the mechanisms underlying the cytotoxicity of HDCA.


The intestinal cell lines IEC-6 and Caco-2 cells were used. The cytotoxicities of various bile acids were evaluated using the MTS assay; their cytolytic effects were measured using the LDH release assay. The induction of apoptosis was determined by the specific figure changes in the cellular cytoplasm and nucleus, including DNA ladder formations. IL-8 synthesis induced by the bile acids was measured using an ELISA assay.


The bile acids induced cytotoxic effects, LDH release, IL-8 synthesis and apoptosis, depending on their hydrophobic properties. On the other hand, HDCA induced strong cytotoxicity, apoptosis and IL-8 synthesis but not cytolysis, although HDCA has a hydrophilic nature. In addition, HDCA exerted the strongest effects on dispersing monolayer cells.


These results strongly suggest that HDCA induces cytotoxicity through its ability to induce apoptosis rather than its detergent effect.

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