Bile acids

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Transformations of cholanic acid

Bile acids are derivatives of cholanic acid, which is derived from cholate (5-β series). It belongs to C24 steroids. Hydroxyderivatives of cholanic acid contain one OH group, which is always bound to the C3 of the sterane nucleus. They are sparingly soluble in water but well soluble in alkaline media to form their salts.

division of bile acids:

  • primary - formed directly from cholesterol in the liver (cholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid)
  • secondary - produced by the activity of the intestinal microbiome (deoxycholic acid, lithocholic acid)

Conversion of cholesterol to bile acids

Cholesterol is very low polar, insoluble in water (it cannot be removed by the kidneys), so it is processed in the liver - storage, transport, conversion to bile acids. Liver cells are able to convert 75% of cholesterol into bile acids. About 1 g of cholesterol is excreted daily as LDL, and free cholesterol can be reabsorbed in the intestine or converted to coprosterol by intestinal bacteria.


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Used literature

  • MATOUŠ, Bohuslav. Základy lékařské chemie a biochemie. 1. edition. Praha : Galén, 2010. 540 pp. ISBN 978-80-7262-702-8.