Duodenal bile acids among children: Keto derivatives and aerobic small bowel bacterial overgrowth

Samuel A. Kocoshis, Departments of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Katherine Schletewitz, Departments of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
George Lovelace, Departments of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Roger A. Laine, Departments of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry


Duodenal bile acids, identified by gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), were correlated with quantitative aerobic and anaerobic duodenal culture in 26 children with enteropathies. Four patients whose duodenal fluid contained either ≥106 gram-negative aerobes or ≥106 aerobic lactobacilli per milliliter had a significantly greater molar percentage of keto-bile acids (32.3 ± 8.4%) than did 19 controls (0.72 ± 1.50%) chosen because duodenal fluid contained ≤104bacteria per milliliter or three other patients with ≥106anaerobes (6.1 ± 4.6%). As expected, free bile acids were seen in greater quantities (10.75 ± 3.25%) among the patients with anaerobic overgrowth or aerobic Lactobacillus overgrowth than among the controls (1.6 ± 1.0%) or the other three aerobic overgrowth patients (2.2 ± 1.4%). Incubation of glycocholate or glycochenodeoxycholate for 60 h with Ettbacterium tortuosum from one patient or Escherichia coli from another produced the types of bile acids found in the duodenum of those patients. Successful antibacterial therapy improved gastrointestinal function and normalized duodenal bile acids not only among patients with anaerobic overgrowth but also among those with pure aerobic overgrowth. These data suggest that pure aerobic bacterial overgrowth syndrome occurs in children, and that altered duodenal bile acid composition may play a pathophysiologic role in this disorder. © 1987 Raven Press, Ltd. New York.