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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bile acids substituted in the 6 position prevent cholesterol gallstone formation in the hamster.

The aim of the present study is to examine the efficacy of 6-hydroxy substituted bile acids on the prevention of cholesterol gallstones in a new hamster model of cholesterol cholelithiasis. Male golden Syrian hamsters were fed a nutritionally adequate semipurified lithogenic diet consisting of casein, cornstarch, soluble starch, butterfat, corn oil, and cellulose plus 0.3% cholesterol. Six different bile acids were added to this diet at the 0.05% level: chenodeoxycholic acid, ursodeoxycholic acid, hyodeoxycholic acid, murideoxycholic acid, 6 beta-methyl-hyodeoxycholic acid, and 6 alpha-methyl-murideoxycholic acid. At the end of the 6-wk feeding period, the control group receiving the lithogenic diet had a 55% incidence of gallstones. It was found that all bile acids had inhibited the formation of cholesterol gallstones; complete prevention of gallstones was observed with all 4 3,6-dihydroxy bile acids, whereas chenodeoxycholic acid and ursodeoxycholic acid were somewhat less effective (80% and 75% prevention, respectively). The accumulation of cholesterol in serum and liver induced by the lithogenic diet was inhibited to some extent by all of the bile acids; hyodeoxycholic acid, murideoxycholic acid, and 6 beta-methyl hyodeoxycholic acid were most effective in this respect. The administered bile acids tended to predominate in bile in the case of chenodeoxycholic acid, hyodeoxycholic acid, and 6 beta-methyl-hyodeoxycholic acid. In contrast, ursodeoxycholic acid seemed to be converted to chenodeoxycholic acid and murideoxycholic acid to hyodeoxycholic acid. Only 4% of the 6-methyl analogue of murideoxycholic acid, 6 alpha-methyl-murideoxycholic acid, was recovered in gallbladder bile. These experiments show that the new hamster model of cholesterol cholelithiasis is suitable for gallstone-prevention studies. It was not possible to draw definite conclusions concerning the mechanism of action of the administered bile acids on the basis of cholesterol saturation or the presence of liquid crystals. The detailed mechanism of gallstone prevention by hydrophilic bile acids in this model remains to be elucidated.[1]


  1. Bile acids substituted in the 6 position prevent cholesterol gallstone formation in the hamster. Cohen, B.I., Matoba, N., Mosbach, E.H., Ayyad, N., Hakam, K., Suh, S.O., McSherry, C.K. Gastroenterology (1990) [Pubmed]
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