Medical Practice

Bile Acids: A pH Dependent Antibacterial System in the Gut?

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: (Published 30 September 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:813
  1. I. W. Percy-Robb,
  2. J. G. Collee


    Bile acids are secreted in the bile in the form of conjugates and many species of intestinal bacteria can rapidly deconjugate them. Studies have shown that an unconjugated bile acid may have bactericidal and bacteriostatic effects, which are pH dependent. It is proposed that unconjugated bile acids may be involved in a homoeostatic mechanism, preventing bacterial growth in the small intestine.

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