Propranolol reduces the response of serum bile acids to oral chenodeoxycholic acid, possibly as a reflex reaction to reduced portal blood flow in healthy and cirrhotic subjects


Cattedra di Gastroenterologia, ISMI V. le Benedetto XV, 6 16132, Genova Italy


ABSTRACT— To evaluate if a drug that affects splanchnic and portal flow reduces intestinal bile acid absorption, we studied the effect of propranolol (40 mg oral dose) both on the response of total bile acids (SBA) to oral chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA 250 mg) and on the estimated hepatic flow by indocyanine green kinetics in 10 healthy and 14 cirrhotic subjects. In 18 subjects who showed a reduction in resting heart rate of almost -5%, propranolol significantly reduced the SBA area under the curve after CDCA in both healthy (μmol/l/h m±SD from 181.7 times 144.9 to 56.5±36.4 p<0.02) and cirrhotic (from 1412.1±1044.8 to 1129.2±978.8 p<0.01) subjects. Variable but not significant modifications were observed in estimated hepatic flow. These results suggest that the propranolol-induced changes in SBA response to CDCA could be a reflex reaction to changes in splanchnic/portal flow.