Formation of Δ22-bile acids in rats is not gender specific and occurs in the peroxisome

Cecilia M.P. Rodrigues, Betsy T. Kren, Clifford J. Steer, Kenneth D.R. Setchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We recently demonstrated that the formation of Δ22-bile acids is a quantitatively major pathway for normal bile acid synthesis in the adult male Sprague-Dawley rat. This pathway is specific for 7β-hydroxy bile acids and, when ursodeoxycholic acid is administered, Δ22-ursodeoxycholic acid appears as a major metabolite in the liver tissue, bile, intestinal contents, and plasma. The aims of this study were, therefore, to determine whether this metabolic pathway was gender specific, and to establish that the peroxisome is a site of formation of Δ22-bile acids. Bile acids were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in liver tissue, jejunum, and plasma of adult female rats and in animals fed a diet containing 0.4% and 1% ursodeoxycholic acid. Bile acid metabolism in female rats was found to be similar to that of male rats, and Δ22-β-muricholic acid, rather than β-muricholate, was likewise confirmed as the major muricholic acid synthesized. Ursodeoxycholic acid administration resulted in the appearance of Δ22-ursodeoxycholic acid as a major metabolite. When adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with clofibrate, a drug that induces peroxisomal proliferation, liver weight increased 40-60% and total bile acid synthesis decreased markedly, but the relative composition of individual bile acids was unchanged. When ursodeoxycholic acid was added to the diet, the proportion of Δ22-bile acids relative to the corresponding saturated analogues increased significantly compared with untreated rats, indicating that clofibrate had "amplified" the pathway for formation of Δ22-bile acids. When UDCA was incubated in vitro with a peroxisomal-enriched fraction from normal adult male rat liver, Δ22-ursodeoxycholic acid was formed in proportions comparable to that observed in vivo when this bile acid was given orally. These studies establish that the pathway for the formation of Δ22-bile acids is not gender specific and mainly occurs in hepatic peroxisomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-550
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996


  • Clofibrate
  • Liver tissue
  • Peroxisomes
  • Rats
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid
  • Δ-bile acids
  • β-oxidation

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