July 1961

The Flow and Ionic Composition of Bile

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Presbyterian Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(1):156-162. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620070158020

The flow and composition of bile have been objects of serious, if sporadic, investigation in many species for more than a century. An impressive variety of techniques have been employed to permit collection of bile from living subjects and to facilitate the chemical analysis of this complex fluid. Much of this work has been descriptive, and a great deal of effort has been devoted to the identification and characterization of the many pigments, lipids, and bile acids which are so abundant in bile. However, the accumulated knowledge on this subject can be integrated to provide a good general picture of the physiology of bile formation which may serve as a rational basis for the direction of future research.

Certain well-known characteristics of the biliary tract are worthy of reiteration in an appraisal of this kind. It is important to recognize, for example, the extraordinary differences in bile flow and composition

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