Chemistry and Enterohepatic Circulation of Bile Acids§††‡‡§§¶¶‖‖†††‡‡‡§§§


  • Alan F. Hofmann

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California 92103
    • Hofmann AF, ed. Bile, bile acids, gallstones, and gallstone dissolution. Lancaster: MTP Press, Ltd, 1982 (bibliography with index).
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  • The literature on bile acids is scattered. For older work, see: Radt F, ed. Elsevier's encyclopedia of organic chemistry, Vol 14. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1962, suppl, pp 22915–36725.

  • Sobotka H. Chemistry of the steroids. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1938.

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    Sobotka H. The physiological chemistry of the bile. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1937.

  • For more recent work, see:

  • Nair PP, Kritchevsky D, eds. The bile acids: chemistry, physiology and metabolism, Vols I, II and III. New York: Plenum Press, 1976.

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    Haselwood GAD. Bile salts. London, UK: Methuen and Company, 1967.

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    Haselwood GAD. The biological importance of bile salts. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Co., 1978.

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    Heaton KW. Bile salts in health and disease. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1972.

  • ¶¶

    Dietschy J, ed. Symposium on bile acids. Archiv Intern Med 1972; 130:493–648.

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    Paumgartner G, ed. Bile acids. Clin Gastroenterol 1977; 6: 250 pp.

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    Myant NB. The biology of cholesterol and related steroids. Philadelphia: International Ideas, Inc., 1981.

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    Proceedings of the 2nd through 7th bile acid meetings (various titles). Falk Symposia. Lancaster: MTP Press, Ltd, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982.

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    Barbara L. Dowling RH, Hofmann AF, et al, eds. Bile acids in gastroenterology. Lancaster: MTP Press, Ltd, 1982.


A brief review is given of the chemistry of bile acids, emphasizing the relationship between chemical structure, physical properties and enterohepatic cycling of the major primary and secondary bile acids. Features of the enterohepatic circulation of primary and secondary bile acids in man are summarized. The effects of bile acid feeding on the composition of the enterohepatic circulation in man are reviewed. Methods for characterizing the enterohepatic circulation of bile acids in man are tabulated.