A double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial of ursodeoxycholic acid was performed in 31 patients undergoing T-cell depleted allogeneic or autologous bone marrow transplantation to determine the effectiveness of this hydrophilic bile acid in improving the increase in serum liver enzymes that generally accompanies this procedure. Neither group showed any significant difference in magnitude of the increases in serum transaminases and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase following the conditioning regimen that included chemotherapy and total body irradiation. In the 6 months after transplantation, serum enzymes decreased in both groups, but were consistently higher in the placebo treated patients, indicating that ursodeoxycholic enhances normalization of liver. Faecal bile acid showed that following chemotherapy and irradiation in which intestinal bacteria are ablated, secondary bile acid formation was practically abolished and faeces contained mainly cholic and chenodeoxycholic acids. During bile acid treatment, ursodeoxycholic acid accounted for 31.3 +/- 10.9% of faecal bile acids compared with 4.0 +/- 2.1% in the basal period. Serum and urinary ursodeoxycholic acid concentrations (mean +/- SD, 13.3 +/- 6.9 mumol/L and 2.65 +/- 0.84 mumol/L, respectively) were significantly higher in patients receiving bile acid than in thos on placebo (mean +/- SD, 0.15 +/- 0.12 mumol/L and 0.29 +/- 0.35 mumol/L, respectively) thus confirming compliance.
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