Author(s): L R Hagey, D L Crombie, E Espinosa, M C Carey, H Igimi
The biliary bile acid composition of gallbladder bile obtained from six species of bears (Ursidae), the Giant panda, the Red panda, and 11 related carnivores were determined by reversed phase liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Bile acids were conjugated solely with taurine (in N-acyl linkage) in all species. Ursodeoxycholic acid (3 alpha, 7 beta-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholan-24-oic acid) was present in all Ursidae, averaging 1-39% of biliary bile acids depending on the species; it was not detected or present as a trace constituent (< 0.5%) in all other species, including the Giant panda. Ursodeoxycholic acid was present in 73 of 75 American Black bears, and its proportion averaged 34% (range 0-62%). Ursodeoxycholic acid averaged 17% of biliary bile acids in the Polar bear (n = 4) and 18% in the Brown bear (n = 6). Lower proportions (1-8%) were present in the Sun bear (n = 2), Ceylon Sloth bear (n = 1), and the Spectacled bear (n = 1). Bile of all species contained taurine-conjugated chenodeoxycholic acid and cholic acid. In some related carnivores, deoxycholic acid, the 7-dehydroxylation product of cholic acid, was also present. To determine whether the 7 beta hydroxy group of ursodeoxycholic acid was formed by hepatic or bacterial enzymes, bile acids were determined in hepatic bile obtained from bears with chronic biliary fistulae. Fistula bile samples contained ursodeoxycholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid, and a trace amount of cholic acid, all as taurine conjugates, indicating that ursodeoxycholic acid is a primary bile acid formed in the liver in Ursidae.