In 1967 a conference, largely organized by Leon Schiff, MD, was held in Cincinnati. Many of the investigators active in the field of bile acid metabolism presented their work. The proceedings of that conference, subsequently published in book form,1 contained most of the information available at that time on the biochemistry and physiology of bile acids and on the clinical syndromes associated with disordered metabolism of these compounds. In the brief five years since that conference, there has continued to be active interest in this field among both basic and clinical investigators so that much new information has accrued. The purpose of this symposium on The Biology of Bile Acids is to review these advances.
The general features of bile acid metabolism are shown diagrammatically in the Figure. Bile acids are formed in the liver from cholesterol and secreted into the bile. After storage and concentration in the gallbladder