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Biochem J. 1991 Dec 1;280 ( Pt 2):373-7.

Regulation of cholesterol and bile acid homoeostasis in bile-obstructed rats.

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1
Atherosclerosis and Hepatobiliary Research Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.

Abstract

We examined how total blockage of biliary excretion, the major pathway through which cholesterol and bile acids are removed from the body, affects liver function, cholesterol and bile acid metabolism and homoeostasis. After 4 weeks of bile-duct ligation, rats showed impaired liver function, as documented by elevations in serum bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase activity. Moreover, bile-duct ligation decreased by about 30% both the amount of microsomal cytochrome P-450 in the liver and the elimination of aminopyrine in vivo, a reliable index in vivo of microsomal mixed-function oxidase activity. Cholesterol and bile acid contents in livers of bile-duct-ligated rats were doubled compared with sham-operated controls. Despite the increase in the contents of cholesterol and bile acids in liver, activities of the respective rate-limiting enzymes, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, were doubled. Serum concentrations of bile acids and free cholesterol increased 25- and 4-fold respectively. The large increase in serum bile acids was associated with a 380-fold increase in the urinary excretion of bile acids. Although there is a general decrease in cytochrome P-450 content and drug metabolism involving cytochrome P-450-containing hydroxylases, the activity of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, also a cytochrome P-450-containing enzyme, is actually increased. These data show that complete obstruction of the bile duct results in the selective impairment of microsomal cytochrome P-450. Increased activity of 7 alpha-hydroxylase, bile acid synthesis and urinary excretion provides an alternative excretory pathway that helps to maintain cholesterol homoeostasis when the biliary excretory pathway is eliminated.

PMID:
1747109
PMCID:
PMC1130556
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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