Serum levels of total sulphated and total unsulphated lithocholates were each measured by a specific radioimmunoassay in 66 patients ingesting chenodeoxycholic (chenic) acid for gallstone dissoultion and in 35 gallstone patients ingesting either cholic acid or placebo. No changes occurred in serum lithocholate levels in the control groups. In patients ingesting chenic acid, there was a twofold increase in serum levels of total lithocholate, but the percent sulphation (greater than 75%) remained unchanged during chenotherapy. There was no correlation in the chenic acid treated group between serum lithocholate levels and the proportion of lithocholate in biliary bile acids or changes in serum SGOT. The data suggest that there is effective sulphation of lithocholate in such patients; this may explain the lack of hepatotoxicity observed during ingestion of chenic acid.
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