Reactome: A Curated Pathway Database

Bile acid and bile salt metabolism (R-HSA-194068) [Homo sapiens]


In a healthy adult human, about 500 mg of cholesterol is converted to bile salts daily. Newly synthesized bile salts are secreted into the bile and released into the small intestine where they emulsify dietary fats (Russell 2003). About 95% of the bile salts in the intestine are recovered and returned to the liver (Kullak-Ublick et al. 2004; Trauner and Boyer 2002). The major pathway for bile salt synthesis in the liver begins with the conversion of cholesterol to 7alpha-hydroxycholesterol. Bile salt synthesis can also begin with the synthesis of an oxysterol - 24-hydroxycholesterol or 27-hydroxycholesterol. In the body, the initial steps of these two pathways occur in extrahepatic tissues, generating intermediates that are transported to the liver and converted to bile salts via the 7alpha-hydroxycholesterol pathway. These extrahepatic pathways contribute little to the total synthesis of bile salts, but are thought to play important roles in extrahepatic cholesterol homeostasis (Javitt 2002).

Additional Information
GO Biological Process bile acid metabolic process (0008206)
Literature References
pubMedId Title Journal Year
14699511 Enterohepatic bile salt transporters in normal physiology and liver disease Gastroenterology 2004
12543708 The enzymes, regulation, and genetics of bile acid synthesis Annu Rev Biochem 2003
12663868 Bile salt transporters: molecular characterization, function, and regulation Physiol Rev 2003
11969205 Cholesterol, hydroxycholesterols, and bile acids Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2002