To study the carcinogenic activity of bile acids, we examined the mutagenic activity of bile acids by Rec-assay using B. subtilis H17 and M45 strains. Cholic, chenodeoxycholic, lithocholic, and glycolithocholic acids exerted much weaker mutagenicity than mitomicin C (MMC), and deoxycholic and glycodeoxycholic acids showed toxicity toward the bacteria. Most of the conjugated bile acids (glycocholic, taurocholic, and taurodexycholic acids) and their amino acid components (glycine and taurine) were neither toxic nor mutagenic. No bile acids enhanced the mutagenicity of N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG), but glycine enhanced both toxicity and mutagenicity of MNNG in a dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, taurine decreased the mutagenicity of MNNG, and most of the bile acids decreased the mutagenicity of MMC. Furthermore, taurocholic acids decreased toxicity and/or mutagenicity of other bile acids. These results suggested that the mutagenic and comutagenic activities of bile acids can be disregarded, but they are antimutagenic in some situations.
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