The conjugated trihydroxy bile salts glycocholate and taurocholate removed approx. 20–30% of the plasma-membrane enzymes 5′-nucleotidase, alkaline phosphatase and alkaline phosphodiesterase I from isolated hepatocytes before the onset of lysis, as judged by release of the cytosolic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. The conjugated dihydroxy bile salt glycodeoxycholate similarly removed 10–20% of the 5′-nucleotidase and alkaline phosphatase activities, but not alkaline phosphodiesterase activity; this bile salt caused lysis of hepatocytes at approx. 10-fold lower concentrations (1.5–2.0mM) than either glycocholate or taurocholate (12–16mM). At low concentrations (7 mM), glycocholate released these enzymes in a predominantly particulate form, whereas at higher concentrations (15 mM) glycocholate further released these components in a predominantly ‘soluble’ form. Inclusion of 1% (w/v) bovine serum albumin in the incubations had a small protective effect on the release of enzymes from hepatocytes by glycodeoxycholate, but not by glycocholate. These observations are discussed in relation to the possible role of bile salts in the origin of some biliary proteins.

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