The extent of oxidoreduction of deoxycholic acid in the enterohepatic circulation was studied in seven healthy subjects and seven patients after cholecystectomy. (12 beta-3H) Deoxycholic acid was given orally together with (24-14C) labelled bile acid. The rate of oxidoreduction of the 12 alpha-hydroxyl group of deoxycholic acid was calculated from the decay in ratio between 3H and 14C. In spite of a normal proportion of deoxycholic acid and other secondary bile acids in bile, patients after cholecystectomy had more than two-fold higher degree of oxidoreduction of the 12 alpha-hydroxyl group than healthy controls. The high extent of oxidoreduction is probably because of an increased exposure of the bile acid pool to intestinal bacteria and may have physiological implications.
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