The aim of this study was to define whether N-acetylglucosaminidation is a selective conjugation pathway of structurally related bile acids in humans. The following bile acids released enzymatically from N-acetylglucosaminides were identified: 3 alpha,7 beta-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholanoic (ursodeoxycholic), 3 beta, 7 beta-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholanoic (isoursodeoxycholic), 3 beta,7 beta-dihydroxy-5 alpha-cholanoic (alloisoursodeoxycholic), 3 beta,7 beta-dihydroxy-5-cholenoic, 3 alpha,7 beta,12 alpha-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholanoic, and 3 alpha,6 alpha,7 beta-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholanoic acids. The selectivity of conjugation was studied by administration of 0.5 g ursodeoxycholic (UDCA) or hyodeoxycholic (HDCA) acids, labeled with 13C, to patients with extrahepatic cholestasis, and of 0.5 g of 13C-labeled chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) to patients with extra- or intrahepatic cholestasis. After administration of [24-13C]-CDCA, labeled glucosides, and the glucuronide of CDCA were excreted in similar amounts. Labeled N-acetylglucosaminides of UDCA and isoUDCA were also formed. When [24-13C]-UDCA was given, 13C-label was detected in the N-acetylglucosaminide, the glucosides, and the glucuronide of UDCA, and in the N-acetylglucosaminide of isoUDCA. In the patient studied, 32% of the total UDCA excreted in urine was conjugated with N-acetylglucosamine. In contrast, 96% of the excreted amount of [24-13C]HDCA was glucuronidated, and 13C-labeled glucosides but no N-acetylglucosaminide were detected. The selectivity of N-acetylglucosaminidation towards bile acids containing a 7 beta-hydroxyl group was confirmed in vitro using human liver and kidney microsomes and uridine diphosphate glucose (UDP)-N-acetylglucosamine. These studies show that N-acetylglucosaminidation is a selective conjugation pathway for 7 beta-hydroxylated bile acids.


H U Marschall, H Matern, H Wietholtz, B Egestad, S Matern, J Sjövall


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