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J Lipid Res. 1992 May;33(5):635-46.

Solubility of calcium salts of unconjugated and conjugated natural bile acids.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


The approximate solubility products of the calcium salts of ten unconjugated bile acids and several taurine conjugated bile acids were determined. The formation of micelles, gels, and/or precipitates in relation to Ca2+,Na+, and bile salt concentration was summarized by "phase maps." Because the ratio of Ca2+ to bile salt in the precipitates was ca. 1:2, and the activity of Ca2+ but not that of bile salt (BA-) could be measured, the ion product of aCa2+ [BA-]2 was calculated. The ion product (= Ksp) ranged over nine orders of magnitude and the solubility thus ranged over three orders of magnitude; its value depended on the number and orientation of the hydroxyl groups in the bile acid. Ion products (in units of 10(-9) mol/l)3 were as follows: cholic (3 alpha OH,7 alpha OH,12 alpha OH) 640; ursocholic (3 alpha OH,7 beta OH,12 alpha OH) 2300; hyocholic (3 alpha OH,6 alpha OH,7 alpha OH) 11; ursodeoxycholic (3 alpha OH,7 beta OH) 91; chenodeoxycholic (3 alpha OH,7 alpha OH) 10; deoxycholic (3 alpha OH,12 alpha OH) 1.5; 12-epideoxycholic (lagodeoxycholic, 3 alpha OH,12 beta OH) 2.2; hyodeoxycholic (3 alpha OH,6 alpha OH) 0.7; and lithocholic (3 alpha OH) 0.00005. The critical micellization temperature of the sodium salt of murideoxycholic acid (3 alpha OH,6 beta OH) was greater than 100 degrees C, and its Ca2+ salt was likely to be very insoluble. Taurine conjugates were much more soluble than their corresponding unconjugated derivatives: chenodeoxycholyltaurine, 384; deoxycholyltaurine, 117; and cholyltaurine, greater than 10,000. Calcium salts of unconjugated bile acids precipitated rapidly in contrast to those of glycine conjugates which were metastable for months. Thus, hepatic conjugation of bile acids with taurine or glycine not only enhances solubility at acidic pH, but also at Ca2+ ion concentrations present in bile and intestinal content.

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