Background/Aims: The hepatocyte canalicular membrane outer leaflet contains both phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin (SM). Normally, PC is the exclusive phospholipid in bile. We examined effects of bile salt hydrophobicity on cytotoxicity and on differential SM and PC distribution between detergent-resistant aggregated vesicles (model for detergent-resistant canalicular membrane) and mixed micelles or small unilamellar vesicles (representing lipid phases in bile). Methods: Aggregated vesicles were obtained by ultracentrifugation of cholesterol-supersaturated model systems containing SM, PC and various bile salts, micelles by ultrafiltration and unilamellar vesicles by dialysis of the supernatant. Erythrocyte hemolysis and lactate dehydrogenase release from CaCo-2 cells upon incubation with various micelles were quantified. Results: Preferential SM distribution and lipid solubilization in aggregated vesicles increased in rank order taurodeoxycholate <taurocholate <tauroursodeoxycholate <taurohyodeoxycholate, with reciprocal PC enrichment in micelles and small unilamellar vesicles. Including small amounts of PC within taurohyodeoxycholate micelles increased cytotoxicity with more erythrocyte hemolysis and LDH release from CaCo-2 cells upon incubation, but decreased cytotoxicity in case of tauroursodeoxycholate micelles. Conclusions: Hydrophilic but not hydrophobic bile salts preserve integrity of pathophysiologically relevant phosphatidylcholine plus sphingomyelin-containing bilayers. Enhanced biliary phospholipid secretion during taurohyodeoxycholate but not during tauroursodeoxycholate therapy (Hepatology 25 (1997) 1306) may relate to different interactions of these bile salts with phospholipids.
- Bile salts
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