Studies utilizing balloon-occludable T or duodenal tubes in subjects with and without gallbladders were undertaken to identify the contribution of the gallbladder, the sphincter of Oddi, and bile salts to the delivery of bile to the duodenum. Patients with and without a functional sphincter of Oddi and with and without a gallbladder were compared. The presence of a functional sphincter of Oddi in duodenal tube patients reduced bile salt output by more than 67% from that observed in T-tube patients. When cholecystectomized and normal patients were compared using the duodenal tube, peak bile salt output was significantly increased in normal subjects, reflecting gallbladder contraction, but total bile salt output was not significantly increased, suggesting that the gallbladder has a minor role in bile delivery. Exogenous infusion of cholecystokinin produced much more stable bile secretion than did endogenous release of cholecystokinin by intraduodenal infusion of essential amino acids. This rhythmic release of bile after endogenous cholecystokinin release was related to the concentration of bile salts in the intestinal lumen. Thus, delivery of bile to the duodenum is wave-like and is predominantly controlled by the sphincter of Oddi.
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