Hepatic Bile Formation: Intracellular Trafficking of Bile Salts
Bile formation facilitates the digestion and absorption of lipids from the gut, and provides a mechanism for the elimination of a wide variety of potentially toxic compounds from the body. The primary organic solutes in bile are amphiphilic bile salts and phospholipids, with the substantial flux of bile salts through the liver as part of the enterohepatic circulation providing the major driving force for bile formation. Although biliary phospholipid appears to be derived from intracellular pools, the interactions of bile salts with intracellular membranes and their transport through the hepatocyte remain poorly understood. We have examined the role of bile salt hydrophilicity in regulating bile salt interactions with microtubule-dependent membrane-based transport mechanisms, and have developed a novel methodological approach for the ultrastructural localization of bile salts within hepatocytes.
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