These studies were undertaken to characterize the role of bile salt hydrophobicity in determining the rate of cholesterol recruitment from the liver. Using an in vivo rat model in which the acquisition of hepatic cholesterol from chylomicron remnants, low-density lipoproteins, and de novo synthesis was measured and kept constant, it was found that the amount of sterol recruited from the liver cell increased progressively as the liver was probed with a constant infusion of progressively more hydrophobic bile salts. The absolute secretion rate of both cholesterol and phospholipid increased nearly 50% as the hydrophobic index of the bile salts traversing the liver increased from 1.7 to 4.5, but the ratio of cholesterol to phospholipid secreted in bile remained nearly constant. Thus, when cholesterol entry into the hepatocyte via lipoproteins and de novo cholesterol synthesis is constant, the mass of cellular cholesterol recruited into the bile is directly proportional to the hydrophobic-hydrophilic balance of the secreted bile salts.
- high-performance liquid chromatography
- low-density lipoprotein
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