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J Lipid Res. 1969 Sep;10(5):495-503.

Fecal neutral steroids and bile acids from germfree rats.


The amount and composition of fecal neutral sterols and bile acids excreted by adult male germfree and conventional rats have been determined. The amounts of neutral sterols excreted were 12.8 (germfree) and 19.5 (conventional) mg/kg of body wt per day. The germfree rats excreted cholesterol and lathosterol (methostenol was not assayed); the conventional rats excreted coprostanol and coprostanone in addition. The amounts of bile acids excreted were 11.3 (germfree) and 21.4 (conventional) mg/kg of body wt per day. The bile acids excreted by the rats were tentatively identified as tauro--muricholate, tauro-alpha-muricholate, and tauro-cholate, besides an unidentified component. The conventional rats excreted the corresponding unconjugated acids as well as many other unconjugated bile acids. No significant correlation was found between the amount of coprosterols and the total amount of neutral sterols excreted by the conventional rats. This suggests that bacterial reduction of cholesterol is not an important mechanism of increasing neutral sterol excretion of conventional rats as compared to germfree rats. Evidence is presented that suggests that this difference in neutral sterol excretion is due to changes in intestinal secretion and sloughing between the two types of animal. The factors reponsible for the differences in bile acid excretion have not been identified.

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