1. The turnover of [24−14C]cholic acid and [3H]chenodeoxycholic acid and the faecal excretion of neutral steroids were studied in six normolipaemic subjects before and during the ingestion of 1.3–2.6 mmol (0.5–1.0 g) of deoxycholic acid/day. Before the second study the subjects had been fed deoxycholic acid for 2 weeks.
2. The administration of deoxycholic acid did not appear to influence cholesterol metabolism as judged by the absence of change in the serum concentrations and the overall transformation into primary bile acids and neutral faecal steroids.
3. During the deoxycholic acid feeding period the mean total synthesis of bile acids was reduced by about 30%, corresponding to approximately 0.25 mmol (100 mg)/day. In one subject the pool size and in another the synthesis of cholic acid remained unchanged; otherwise the cholic acid pool size and its rate of formation decreased in all subjects. No consistent effects were observed with regard to the turnover of chenodeoxycholic acid.
4. Assuming that the bile acid turnover is equivalent to bile acid excretion then the total amount of cholesterol eliminated as bile acids and neutral faecal steroids averaged between 1.6 and 1.8 mmol/day before and during the administration of deoxycholic acid.