The bile acid in gallbladder bile of rabbits fed a normal diet or one containing 2% (w/w) cholesterol have been determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The predominant bile acids in normally fed rabbits were 3 alpha, 7 alpha, 12 alpha-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholan-24-oic acid (cholic acid), 3 alpha, 12 alpha-dihydroxy-5 alpha-cholan-24-oic acid (allodeoxycholic acid) and 3 alpha, 12 alpha-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholan-24-oic acid (deoxycholic acid) with very much smaller amounts of 3 alpha-hydroxy-5 beta-cholan-24-oic acid (lithocholic acid) and 3 alpha, 12 beta-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholan-24-oic acid. In the cholesterol-fed animals the lithocholate became a predominant bile acid. Sulphated bile acids accounted for less than 1% of the total bile acids. It is proposed that lithocholic acid may be a primary bile acid in the cholesterol-fed rabbit, formed by an alternative pathway of biosynthesis involving hepatic mitochondria.

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