A paucity of unusual trihydroxy bile acids in the urine of patients with severe liver diseases



To clarify the relationship between the occurrence of unusual trihydroxy bile acids, namely hyocholic acid, ursocholic acid (UCA), and ω-muricholic acid (ω-MCA) in urine and liver disease severity, urinary bile acids were analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography in acute and late phases of acute hepatitis and before and after ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) loading in healthy adults and liver cirrhosis patients. In 11 patients with acute hepatitis, the occurrence rates and amounts of unusual trihydroxy bile acids were increased in the late (recovery) phase, as compared with those in the early phase. In 10 patients with severe acute hepatitis who had prothrombin times exceeding 16 seconds, these bile acids had completely disappeared from the urine in the early phase but reappeared in the late phase in those who had a good outcome, though never in a patient who died. After UDCA administration for a week, the amounts of unusual bile acids, especially UCA and ω-MCA, which are thought to be synthesized through 12 α- and 6 α-hydroxylations, respectively, from UDCA, were clearly increased in 10 healthy adults but only slightly changed in 10 patients with liver cirrhosis. In conclusion, hepatic hydroxylations of dihydroxy bile acids as a detoxification reaction were impaired in severe liver diseases, which may play a role in the intensification and perpetuation of hepatocellular injuries.