In the perfused rat liver, ursodeoxycholate in high dose produces an HCO3--rich hypercholeresis which we have shown previously to be inhibited by replacement of perfusate Na+ with Li+ or by addition of amiloride (or amiloride analogues). In the present studies, we have determined whether such inhibition is associated with altered ursodeoxycholate biotransformation. Under control conditions, ursodeoxycholate infusion produced a 3.7-fold increase in bile flow and a 9.2-fold increase in biliary HCO3- output. By thin-layer chromatography, ursodeoxycholate radioactivity in bile was present in unconjugated form (15%) or as glycine or taurine amidates. Glucuronide conjugates of ursodeoxycholate accounted for <1% of biliary bile acids. Li+ Na+substitution decreased ursodeoxycholate-stimulated bile flow and HCO3- secretion by >90%, but decreased recovery of ursodeoxycholate and metabolites by only 25%. Amiloride or amiloride analogues decreased ursodeoxycholate-stimulated choleresis and HCO3- output by 38%-76%, yet did not cause decreased recovery of ursodeoxycholate and metabolites. Inhibition of the hypercholeresis was associated with a decrease in unconjugated ursodeoxycholate to <2% of total biliary bile acids, a striking increase in ursodeoxycholate glucuronides, and a reciprocal decrease in glycine and taurine amidates. With Li+ Na+ substitution, the predominant metabolites were a mixture of the 24-ester and the 3-aketal (ethereal) glucuronide (29%), and amidation with glycine appeared to be selectively inhibited; with amiloride or its analogues, only the 3-ethereal glucuronide was formed (20%-60% of biliary bile acids), and both taurine and glycine amidation were inhibited. Thus, maneuvers that decrease Na+ H+ exchange inhibit ursodeoxycholate hypercholeresis and cause replacement of unconjugated ursodeoxycholate in bile by its glucuronide. The secretion of unconjugated ursodeoxycholate, a lipophilic bile acid, appears to be necessary for hypercholeresis induced by high-dose ursodeoxycholate infusion.
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