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Am J Physiol. 1982 Dec;243(6):G484-92.

Bile acid transport in cultured rat hepatocytes.


The mechanisms of bile acid uptake have been studied with primary monolayer cultures of rat hepatocytes. Hepatocytes were incubated with taurocholic acid (TC), glycocholic acid (GC), cholic acid (CA), glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDC), chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), deoxycholic acid (DOCA), lithocholic acid (LCA), or cholylglycylhistamine (CCH), a neutral bile acid derivative for 10 s to 60 min in medium containing sodium chloride, sodium chloride with 1 mM ouabain, or choline chloride. Cells were washed free of radioactive tracer, cell-associated radioactivity was quantitated, and bile acid uptake rates, kinetic parameters of uptake, and steady-state bile acid content were calculated. Two mechanisms for bile acid uptake were identified. Uptake of TC, GC, CA, and GCDC occurred predominantly via a sodium-dependent, ouabain-suppressible saturable mechanism, presumably sodium-coupled transport. Estimates of apparent Km and Vmax for these bile acids were TC, 33 micro M and 0.36 nmol . min-1 . mg prot-1; GC, 18 micro M and 0.22 nmol . min-1 . mg prot-1; CA, 13 micro M and 0.10 nmol . min-1 . mg prot; and GCDC, 6 micro M and 0.21 nmol . min-1 . mg prot, respectively. Uptake via this sodium-coupled mechanism exhibited considerable substrate selectivity. It was enhanced by increased ring hydroxylation and amino acid conjugation and decreased by further conjugation with a neutral histamine group (CGH). In contrast, uptake of CDCA, DOCA, LCA, and CGH occurred primarily via a nonsaturable sodium-independent mechanism, possibly simple diffusion. This mechanism accounted for only a small portion of uptake of TC, GC, CA, and GCDC at low bile acid concentrations. Nonsaturable bile acid uptake rates appeared to correlate with decane-buffer partition coefficients and to be related to bile acid structure.

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