The control of biliary phospholipid and cholesterol secretions by bile acid was studied by using the technique of retrograde intrabiliary injection. Taurocholate (TC), a moderately hydrophobic bile acid, taurodehydrocholate (TDHC), a hydrophilic non-micelle-forming bile acid, and 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)-dimethylammonio]propane-1-sulphonate (CHAPS), a detergent, were individually administered by retrograde intrabiliary injection (RII) into the biliary tree, and bile acids, phospholipids and cholesterol subsequently appearing in the bile were measured. TC (1.3 mumol; 45 microliters) injected retrogradely provoked a 3.5-fold increase in biliary phospholipid output for 40 min, as compared with the saline control. Injection of 2.7 mumol of TC (90 microliters) caused a 7.5-fold increase in phospholipid output, which reached a peak at 12 min after RII, and phospholipid output continued for 40 min. Cholesterol output was also elicited under these conditions, showing both dose-dependency and extended secretion. Injection of 1.8 mumol of TDHC caused very little increase in either biliary phospholipid or cholesterol. Injection of 0.9 mumol of CHAPS (45 microliters) provoked a single substantial peak of phospholipid output in the 3 min bile sample. T.l.c. analysis of the phospholipid extracts of the bile collected after each compound showed, for TC, a single compound which co-migrated with the phosphatidylcholine standard, whereas for CHAPS substantial amounts of other phospholipids were present.

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