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Clin Chim Acta. 1996 Jul 30;251(2):173-86.

Hepatic levels of bile acids in end-stage chronic cholestatic liver disease.

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Department of Medicine II, Klinikum Grosshadern, University of Munich, Germany.


In chronic cholestatic liver disease hydrophobic and potentially cytotoxic bile acids are assumed to accumulate in the liver. To test this hypothesis we investigated bile acid levels and pattern in livers and serum of patients with, (A) end-stage chronic cholestatic liver disease, and with (B) end-stage cirrhosis of alcoholic/chronic hepatitic origin who underwent liver transplantation. Bile acids were also analyzed in (C) normal liver tissue. Levels of bile acids were 215 +/- 39.1 nmol/g liver (wet weight) in chronic cholestasis and 120 +/- 32.7 and 56.1 +/- 24.2 nmol/g liver in group B and group C (P < 0.01 and P < 0.005), respectively. Cholic acid was the prevailing bile acid in chronic cholestasis (51%) and was elevated eight-fold as compared to group C (P < 0.005). Chenodeoxycholic acid contributed 41% to total bile acids and was elevated four-fold (P < 0.005). Deoxycholic acid contributed only 1.5% to bile acids in chronic cholestasis as compared to 27% in group C (P < 0.01) and was absent in group B. Levels of lithocholic acid tended to be increased in chronic cholestasis as compared to group C and its sulfation was impaired (P < 0.05). The pattern of serum bile acids in chronic cholestasis agreed well with the bile acid pattern in the explanted livers. We conclude that hepatic accumulation of hydrophobic chenodeoxycholic acid and impaired sulfation of lithocholic acid might contribute to tissue degeneration in chronic cholestatic liver disease due to the detergent effects of these bile acids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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