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Bile Constituents

Bile has various components, some of which are produced by hepatocytes in the liver. The main components include:

  • Water
  • Cholesterol
  • Bile pigments
  • Bile acids (glycocholic and taurocholic acid)
  • Phospholipids (mainly lecithin)
  • Bicarbonate and other ions
The bile acids are typically conjugated with salt or glycine and are produced by the liver from cholesterol. They are secreted in bile by hepatocytes along the bile canaliculi, which then join the bile duct, and hence into the gall bladder. Ordinarily the concentration of bile salts in bile is 0.8%, however the gall bladder removes water from the bile, concentrating it between meals. It concentrates it up to 5 times (increasing concentration to 4%), before contracting the walls and releasing it into the duodenum once chyme has entered the small intestine from the stomach.

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