Toxicity of bile acids on the electron transport chain of isolated rat liver mitochondria

Hepatology. 1994 Feb;19(2):471-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840190228.


The toxicity of hydrophilic (cholate) and lipophilic (deoxycholate, chenodeoxycholate, and lithocholate) bile acids on the function of the electron transport chain was investigated in intact and disrupted rat liver mitochondria. In intact mitochondria, lipophilic bile acids used at a concentration of 100 mumol/L (0.1 mumol/mg protein) inhibited state 3 and state 3u (dinitrophenol-uncoupled) oxidation rates for L-glutamate, succinate, duroquinol or ascorbate/N,N,N',N'-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine as substrates. In contrast, state 4 oxidation rates and ADP/oxygen ratios were not significantly affected. At a bile acid concentration of 10 mumol/L (0.01 mumol/mg protein), the state 3 oxidation rate for L-glutamate was decreased in the presence of deoxycholate, chenodeoxycholate or lithocholate, whereas only lithocholate inhibited state 3 oxidation for succinate or duroquinol. In broken mitochondria, inhibition of oxidative metabolism was found for NADH or duroquinol as substrate in the presence of 100 mumol/L lithocholate (0.2 mumol/mg protein) and for duroquinol in the presence of 100 mumol/L chenodeoxycholate. Direct assessment of the activities of the enzyme complexes of the electron transport chain revealed decreased activities of complex I and complex III in the presence of 100 mumol/L deoxycholate or chenodeoxycholate or 10 mumol/L lithocholate. Inhibition of complex IV required higher bile acid concentrations (300 mumol/L for chenodeoxycholate or 30 mumol/L for lithocholate), and complex II was not affected. Both chenodeoxycholate and lithocholate were incorporated into mitochondrial membranes. The phospholipid content of mitochondrial membranes decreased in incubations containing 100 mumol/L (0.1 mumol/mg protein) chenodeoxycholate but was not affected in the presence of 100 mumol/L lithocholate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Bile Acids and Salts / toxicity*
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid / toxicity
  • Cholic Acid
  • Cholic Acids / toxicity
  • Deoxycholic Acid / toxicity
  • Electron Transport / drug effects
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Hydroquinones / metabolism
  • Lithocholic Acid / toxicity
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Liver / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria, Liver / enzymology
  • Mitochondria, Liver / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Succinates / metabolism
  • Succinic Acid
  • Tetramethylphenylenediamine / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Cholic Acids
  • Glutamates
  • Hydroquinones
  • Succinates
  • Deoxycholic Acid
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Lithocholic Acid
  • Succinic Acid
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Cholic Acid
  • Tetramethylphenylenediamine
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • duroquinol