Bile acid conjugation in the chimpanzee: effective sulfation of lithocholic acid

M. Schwenk, A. F. Hofmann, G. L. Carlson, J. A. Carter, F. Coulston, H. Greim

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To characterize the hepatic biotransformation in the chimpanzee of the primary bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid (chenic) and its major bacterial metabolite lithocholic acid (lithocholic) a mixture of tracer amounts of14C-lithocholic and3H-chenic was injected intravenously into two animals with a bile fistula; the chemical form of radioactivity appearing in bile was inferred using thin layer chromatography. About 80% of chenic, and 70% of lithocholic was recovered in 90 min. Chenic was completely conjugated in bile, appearing predominantly as chenyltaurine (52%) and chenylglycine (37%). An unidentified conjugate (about 11%) was also found. Lithocholic was excreted completely as taurine and glycine conjugates, but the majority (63%) of conjugates was sulfated. Sulfation increased progressively with time, and lithocholylglycine was sulfated more than lithocholyltaurine. We conclude that the chimpanzee is similar to man in that the secondary bile acid lithocholic is efficiently sulfated. The chimpanzee thus differs from the baboon and rhesus monkey which sulfate lithocholic poorly. However, the chimpanzee differs from man and is similar to the baboon and rhesus monkey in showing preferential conjugation of bile acids with taurine. The results imply that hepatotoxicity caused by chenic, which is well documented in the rhesus monkey and baboon and has been related to defective lithocholic sulfation, should not occur in the chimpanzee.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1978
Externally publishedYes


  • Chenodeoxycholic acid
  • Chimpanzee
  • Conjugation
  • Lithocholic acid
  • Sulfation
  • Toxicity


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