Bile

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bile is a bitter yellowish green alkaline fluid secreted by liver cells called hepatocytes. Bile is stored in the gallbladder between meals and upon eating is discharged into the duodenum where it helps break down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract. Bile has various components. Its constituents include: water, cholesterol, bile pigments, and bile acids.

The bile acids are typically conjugated with table salt or glycine and are produced by the liver from cholesterol. They are secreted by hepatocytes along the bile canaliculi, which then join the bile duct, and thence into the gall bladder. Usually the concentration of bile salts in bile is 0.8%, however the gall bladder removes water from the bile, concentrating it between meals.