Effect of Long‐Term Treatment with Ursodiol on Clinical and Biochemical Features and Biliary Bile Acid Metabolism in Patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Ashok K. Batta, Gerald Salen, Renu Mirchandani, G. S. Tint, Sarah Shefer, Manju Batta, John Abroon, Christopher B. O'Brien, John R. Senior

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The effect of ursodiol on the clinical and biochemical features, serum, urinary, and biliary bile acids was investigated over a 2-yr treatment period in 14 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (stages II-IV). Pruritus and fatigue improved, and alkaline phosphatase and liver transferases declined significantly in all patients during therapy. In four patients, less inflammation was noted by liver biopsy after 2 yr, but histology of disease did not change. Serum and urinary bile acids were increased several-fold before treatment, with cholic acid predominating. Ursodiol accounted for 30% of biliary bile acids after administration (gallstone subjects ≃ 50%), and was conjugated with glycine and taurine in a ratio of 7.3:1. However, in the endogenous bile acids, the ratio increased from 1.2:1 to only 2.1:1. About 6% unconjugated bile acids were secreted into the bile (healthy controls < 1%). Thus, in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, a larger fraction of free bile acids and a higher proportion of taurine-conjugated bile acids are secreted into the bile, compared with healthy controls. Ursodiol improves symptoms and histology with lower biliary enrichment with this bile acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalThe American journal of gastroenterology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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