Using liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, we have found three unconjugated bile acids [cholic acid (CA), chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), and deoxycholic acid (DCA)] in the rat brain cytoplasmic fraction. CDCA was detected only upon extraction with high concentrations of guanidine, indicating that it is bound noncovalently to protein in the brain. The most abundant of the three, it was present at a concentration of 1.6 nmol/g wet weight (∼15 mg of protein) of brain, corresponding to almost 30 times its serum concentration. CA and DCA were present at 1/30th the concentration of CDCA. Bile acids conjugated with amino acids, sulfuric acid, and glucuronic acid were not detected. These data clearly demonstrate that unconjugated CDCA and, to a lesser extent, CA and DCA, exists in the rat brain.
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