A new model has been developed to characterise the effect of a standardised ileal exclusion on bile acid, cholesterol, and lipoprotein metabolism in humans. Twelve patients treated by colectomy and ileostomy for ulcerative colitis were studied on two occasions: firstly with a conventional ileostomy and then three months afterwards with an ileal pouch operation with an ileoanal anastomosis and a protective loop ileostomy, excluding on average 95 cm of the distal ileum. The ileostomy contents were collected during 96 hours and the excretion of bile acids and cholesterol was determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Fasting blood and duodenal bile samples were collected on two consecutive days. After the exclusion of the distal ileum, both cholic and chenodeoxycholic acid excretion in the ileostomy effluent increased four to five times without any change in cholesterol excretion. Serum concentrations of lathosterol (a marker of cholesterol biosynthesis) and 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol (a marker for bile acid biosynthesis) were increased several fold. Plasma concentrations of total VLDL triglycerides were also increased whereas the concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B were decreased. There were no changes in biliary lipid composition or cholesterol saturation of bile. The results show that the exclusion of about 95 cm of distal ileum causes malabsorption of bile acids but apparently not of cholesterol. The bile acid malabsorption leads to increased synthesis of both bile acids and cholesterol in the liver. It is suggested that bile acids can regulate cholesterol synthesis by a mechanism independent of the effect of bile acids on cholesterol absorption. The enhanced demand for cholesterol also leads to a decrease in plasma LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations. The malabsorption of bile acids did not affect biliary lipid composition or cholesterol saturations of VLDL triglycerides.
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