In vivo and vitro studies on formation of bile acids in patients with Zellweger syndrome. Evidence that peroxisomes are of importance in the normal biosynthesis of both cholic and chenodeoxycholic acid.

Research paper by B F BF Kase, J I JI Pedersen, B B Strandvik, I I Björkhem

Indexed on: 01 Dec '85Published on: 01 Dec '85Published in: The Journal of clinical investigation


The last step in bile acid formation involves conversion of 3 alpha,7 alpha,12 alpha-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholestanoic acid (THCA) into cholic acid and 3 alpha,7 alpha-dihydroxy-5 beta-cholestanoic acid (DHCA) into chenodeoxycholic acid. The peroxisomal fraction of rat and human liver has the highest capacity to catalyze these reactions. Infants with Zellweger syndrome lack liver peroxisomes, and accumulate 5 beta-cholestanoic acids in bile and serum. We recently showed that such an infant had reduced capacity to convert a cholic acid precursor, 5 beta-cholestane-3 alpha,7 alpha,12 alpha-triol into cholic acid. 7 alpha-Hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one is a common precursor for both cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid. Intravenous administration of [3H]7 alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one to an infant with Zellweger syndrome led to a rapid incorporation of 3H into biliary THCA but only 10% of 3H was incorporated into cholic acid after 48 h. The incorporation of 3H into DHCA was only 25% of that into THCA and the incorporation into chenodeoxycholic acid approximately 50% of that in cholic acid. The conversion of intravenously administered [3H]THCA into cholic acid in another infant with Zellweger syndrome was only 7%. There was a slow conversion of THCA into 3 alpha,7 alpha,12 alpha-trihydroxy-5 beta-C29-dicarboxylic acid. The pool size of both cholic- and chenodeoxycholic acid was markedly reduced. Preparations of liver from two patients with Zellweger syndrome had no capacity to catalyze conversion of THCA into cholic acid. There was, however, a small conversion of DHCA into chenodeoxycholic acid and into THCA. It is concluded that liver peroxisomes are important both for the conversion of THCA into cholic acid and DHCA into chenodeoxycholic acid.