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J Gastroenterol. 1995 Feb;30(1):61-6.

Increased bile acid concentration in liver tissue with cholesterol gallstone disease.

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Department of Gastroenterology, University of Tsukuba, Japan.


Patients with cholesterol gallstone disease have a reduced pool of bile acids. Overly sensitive feedback inhibition of bile acid synthesis has been postulated to explain this size reduction. To test this hypothesis, hepatic bile acid concentration and the activity of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for bile acid biosynthesis, were determined in ten patients with cholesterol gallstones and ten patients without gallstones. The bile acids present in liver tissue are the sum of those returning to liver and those newly synthesized in liver. If an overly sensitive feedback inhibition truly existed in our gallstone patients, a decreased concentration of hepatic bile acids would have been expected. However, patients with cholesterol gallstones had significantly higher total (143.3 +/- 25.5 vs 64.5 +/- 10.8 nmol/g liver, P < 0.01), chenodeoxycholic (64.1 +/- 9.9 vs 29.8 +/- 5.4, P < 0.01), deoxycholic (22.8 +/- 10.9 vs 2.0 +/- 0.7, P < 0.05), and ursodeoxycholic acid (6.2 +/- 1.4 vs 1.5 +/- 0.6, P < 0.01) concentrations than patients without gallstones. The activity of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase did not differ significantly between the two groups. Impaired hepatic transport or secretion of bile acids is strongly suspected in cholesterol gallstone patients. The findings of the present study showed no evidence of overly sensitive feedback inhibition of bile acid synthesis in cholesterol gallstone patients. Bile acid pool size may be affected by the inappropriate increase of hepatic bile acids rather than by overly sensitive feedback inhibition.

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