To assess whether short-term ursodeoxycholic acid treatment in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis modifies the bile acid fractional turnover rate.Design:
The fractional turnover rate of bile acids was measured according to the half-life of the orally administered γ-emitting bile acid analogue 75Selena homocholic acid taurine (75SeHCAT) in eight women with primary biliary cirrhosis before and after 4 weeks of treatment with 600 mg/day ursodeoxycholic acid.Methods:
The half-life of 75SeHCAT was measured according to the daily exponential decrease of 75Se activity over the gall bladder area; in the five patients who had been cholecystectomized previously, the 75SeHCAT half-life was measured from the exponential decrease of total abdominal activity using the non-collimated γ-camera.Results:
Short-term ursodeoxycholic acid treatment caused a significant reduction in the 75SeHCAT half-life from 5.9±5.4 to 2.7±1.7 days (mean±SD, P<0.02), resulting in values below the normal range (2.0 days) being found in four out of the eight patients.Conclusion:
Our results suggest that ursodeoxycholic acid administration in primary biliary cirrhosis increases the bile acid fractional turnover rate. Considering that ursodeoxycholic acid has been reported not to modify the mass of all other bile acids in the enterohepatic circulation of such patients, we hypothesize that this effect is due to a combination of down-regulation of the ilea) absorption efficiency of bile acids and increased bile acid hepatic excretion.