The Journal of clinical investigation

Triketocholanoic (dehydrocholic) acid. Hepatic metabolism and effect on bile flow and biliary lipid secretion in man.

PMID 4685091


[24-(14)C]Dehydrocholic acid (triketo-5-beta-cholanoic acid) was synthesized from [24-(14)C]cholic acid, mixed with 200 mg of carrier, and administered intravenously to two patients with indwelling T tubes designed to permit bile sampling without interruption of the enterohepatic circulation. More than 80% of infused radioactivity was excreted rapidly in bile as glycine- and taurine-conjugated bile acids. Radioactive products were identified, after deconjugation, as partially or completely reduced derivatives of dehydrocholic acid. By mass spectrometry, as well as chromatography, the major metabolite (about 70%) was a dihydroxy monoketo bile acid (3alpha,7alpha-dihydroxy-12-keto-5beta-cholanoic acid); a second metabolite (about 20%) was a monohydroxy diketo acid (3alpha-hydroxy-7,12-di-keto-5beta-cholanoic acid); and about 10% of radioactivity was present as cholic acid. Reduction appeared to have been sequential (3 position, then 7 position, and then 12 position) and stereospecific (only alpha epimers were recovered). Bile flow, expressed as the ratio of bile flow to bile acid excretion, was increased after dehydrocholic acid administration. It was speculated that the hydroxy keto metabolites are hydrocholeretics. The proportion of cholesterol to lecithin and bile acids did not change significantly after dehydrocholic acid administration. In vitro studies showed that the hydroxy keto metabolites dispersed lecithin poorly compared to cholate; however, mixtures of cholate and either metabolite had dispersant properties similar to those of cholate alone, provided the ratio of metabolite to cholate remained below a value characteristic for each metabolite. These experiments disclose a new metabolic pathway in man, provide further insight into the hydrocholeresis induced by keto bile acids, and indicate the striking change in pharmacologic and physical properties caused by replacement of hydroxyl by a keto substituent in the bile acid molecule.