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Am J Physiol. 1997 Nov;273(5 Pt 1):G1023-30. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1997.273.5.G1023.

Enterohepatic circulation of scymnol sulfate in an elasmobranch, the little skate (Raja erinacea).

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Institut für Pharmazeutische Technologie und Biopharmazie, Heidelberg, Germany.


The sulfated bile alcohol scymnol sulfate (ScyS), 3 alpha,7 alpha,12 alpha,24 xi, 26,27-hexahydroxy-5 beta-cholestane-26(27)-sulfate, is the major bile salt in bile of an elasmobranch, the little skate. To investigate hepatic transport of bile alcohols in skate liver, [3H]ScyS and a potential precursor, 3 alpha,7 alpha,12 alpha-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholestane (chtriol), were used as model compounds. Their transport into isolated hepatocytes was partially saturable, temperature sensitive, and Na+ independent. The uptake of ScyS was inhibited by cholyltaurine, and uptake of cholyltaurine was inhibited by ScyS in a competitive manner. In contrast, uptake of chtriol was not inhibited by cholyltaurine, suggesting separate transport systems. ScyS and chtriol showed a choleretic effect in isolated perfused livers. When ScyS was added to the perfusate of isolated perfused livers, > 25% was found in bile within 7 h. When chtriol was added to the perfusate, 10% of the dose was secreted into the bile mainly in the form of polar metabolites, whereas only nonmetabolized chtriol remained in the livers. The slow bile flow of 40-50 microliters/h and the high recovery in the liver suggest that metabolism may be the rate-limiting step in the hepatic elimination of chtriol. The major metabolites secreted into bile were identified by mass spectrometry and chromatography as scymnol and ScyS. To study the enterohepatic circulation, [3H]ScyS or [3H]chtriol was administered into the duodenum of free-swimming skates, and bile was collected through exteriorized indwelling cannulas over a 4-day period. More than 90% of the radioactivity was recovered from bile, indicating that there was a highly effective absorption in the intestinal epithelium, as well as specific transport mechanisms for hepatic uptake and biliary secretion of these compounds. This is the first direct demonstration of an enterohepatic circulation for a bile alcohol sulfate in fish liver.

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