Definition

A bile acid, usually conjugated with either glycine or taurine. It acts as a detergent to solubilize fats for intestinal absorption and is reabsorbed by the small intestine. It is used as cholagogue, a choleretic laxative, and to prevent or dissolve gallstones. A bile acid. Bile acids are steroid acids found predominantly in bile of mammals. The distinction between different bile acids is minute, depends only on presence or absence of hydroxyl groups on positions 3, 7, and 12. Bile acids are physiological detergents that facilitate excretion, absorption, and transport of fats and sterols in the intestine and liver. Bile acids are also steroidal amphipathic molecules derived from the catabolism of cholesterol. They modulate bile flow and lipid secretion, are essential for the absorption of dietary fats and vitamins, and have been implicated in the regulation of all the key enzymes involved in cholesterol homeostasis. Bile acids recirculate through the liver, bile ducts, small intestine and portal vein to form an enterohepatic circuit. They exist as anions at physiological pH and, consequently, require a carrier for transport across the membranes of the enterohepatic tissues. The unique detergent properties of bile acids are essential for the digestion and intestinal absorption of hydrophobic nutrients. Bile acids have potent toxic properties (e.g., membrane disruption) and there are a plethora of mechanisms to limit their accumulation in blood and tissues. (PMID: 11316487, 16037564, 12576301, 11907135) Usually conjugated with either glycine or taurine. It acts as a detergent to solubilize fats for intestinal absorption and is reabsorbed by the small intestine. It is used as cholagogue, a choleretic laxative, and to prevent or dissolve gallstones. [HMDB]

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