Journal of lipid research

Characterization of serum and urinary bile acids in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis by gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry: effect of ursodeoxycholic acid treatment.

PMID 2621422


We have studied the effect of ursodeoxycholic acid on the serum and urinary bile acids in seven patients with moderate to severe primary biliary cirrhosis. Bile acids were characterized by gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and quantified by capillary gas-liquid chromatography. Serum bile acids were elevated 26-fold over control values, with 2.2 times more cholic acid than chenodeoxycholic acid. Urinary bile acid output was elevated 22-fold over control values with a cholic acid:chenodeoxycholic acid ratio of 1.6. In addition, lithocholic acid, deoxycholic acid, ursodeoxycholic acid, 1 beta-hydroxycholic acid, 1 beta-hydroxydeoxycholic acid, and hyocholic acid were identified in both serum and urine; the proportions of the 1- and 6-hydroxylated bile acids were much higher in urine than in serum of the patients (32.1% versus 4.2%). Three months of placebo administration did not change the serum and urinary bile acid composition. In contrast, ursodeoxycholic acid feeding (12-15 mg/kg body weight per day) for 6 months resulted in a 25% decline in the total serum bile acid concentration from the pretreatment values. The proportion of ursodeoxycholic acid increased from 2.1 to 41.2% of total bile acids, so that total fasting serum endogenous bile acid levels decreased 62.4%. Ursodeoxycholic acid feeding substantially increased urinary bile acid output, with ursodeoxycholic acid comprising 58.1%. The proportion of 1- and 6- hydroxylated endogenous bile acids was reduced by 45.5% from pretreatment levels and approximately 4.5% of the urinary bile acids were omega-muricholic acid, 1 beta-hydroxyursodeoxycholic acid, and 21-hydroxyursodeoxycholic acid. These results demonstrate significant changes in the serum and urinary bile acid pattern in primary biliary cirrhosis during ursodeoxycholic acid treatment. The beneficial effect of ursodeoxycholic acid may be due to reduction of the hydroxylated derivatives of endogenous bile acids together with the appearance of hydroxylated derivatives of ursodeoxycholic acid or it may be due to displacement of the more hydrophobic endogenous bile acids by the hydrophilic ursodeoxycholic acid.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

2,3-Butanediol, 98%
Methanethiol, 98.0%
Phenylpyruvic acid, 98%