Replacement of cholesterol gallstones by murideoxycholyl taurine gallstones in prairie dogs fed murideoxycholic acid

Bertram I. Cohen, Nariman Ayyad, Erwin H. Mosbach, Charles K. McSherry, Naoyuki Matoba, Alan F. Hofmann, Huong‐Thu ‐T Ton‐Nu, Ying Peng, Claudio D. Schteingart, Richard J. Stenger

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12 Scopus citations


The effect of two hydrophilic bile acids, murideoxycholic acid (3α,6β‐dihydroxy‐5β‐cholanoic acid) and ursodeoxycholic acid, on cholesterol and bile acid metabolism and hepatic pathology and gallstone composition was studied in the prairie dog. Cholesterol gallstones were induced by feeding a diet containing 1.2% cholesterol for 75 days. The animals were divided into six groups, and gallstone regression was studied as follows: groups 2 and 5, chow plus 0.2% cholesterol; groups 3 and 6, chow plus 0.2% cholesterol plus 0.15% ursodeoxycholic acid; groups 4 and 7, chow plus 0.2% cholesterol plus 0.15% murideoxycholic acid. Animals in groups 2 to 4 were killed after an additional 6 wk; animals in groups 5 to 7 were killed after an additional 12 wk. Gallstone dissolution did not occur in any group. The gallstones in groups 2, 3, 5 and 6 were typical cholesterol aggregates, as determined by polarized light microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry. The gallstones of the murideoxycholic acid group were large, solitary, dark stones that appeared radiopaque under 22 kVp x‐ray examination. Scanning electron microscopy showed that in these stones the cholesterol crystals had been replaced by an amorphous material, both within the stone and on the stone surface. Chemical analysis indicated that at the end of 12 wk the calcium/sodium salt of the taurine conjugate of murideoxycholic acid (murideoxycholyl taurine) comprised 70% of the stones; protein, cholesterol and small amounts of other bile salts were also present. In vitro studies confirmed the insolubility of the sodium and calcium salts of murideoxycholyl taurine. These studies indicate that the hydrophilic bile acids, murideoxycholic acid and ursodeoxycholic acid, did not achieve gallstone dissolution under the conditions used. In the animals fed murideoxycholic acid, an insoluble calcium salt of murideoxycholyl taurine replaced cholesterol as the major constituent of gallbladder stones. This is the first example of an insoluble dihydroxy taurine‐conjugated bile acid; administration of the unconjugated bile acid induced precipitation of a kind of gallstone not previously reported. The final result was transformation of cholesterol stones to bile salt stones. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;14:158–168.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


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