Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine


A family of steroids comprising the bile acids (or salts), usually in conjugated form (e.g., glycocholic and taurocholic acids). Chemically, cholic acids are cholan-24-oic (cholanic) acids (the terminal C24 of cholane becoming a -COOH group); biologically, cholic acids are derived from cholesterol (a cholestane derivative) and display varying degrees of oxidation (OH groups) and orientation at positions 3, 7, and 12. It is these oxidations and orientations that distinguish the different cholic acid; e.g., cholic acid is 3a,7a,12a-trihydroxy-5b-cholan-24-oic acid, deoxycholic acid is 3a,12a-dihydroxy-5b-cholanic acid. Synonym: cholalic acid, cholanic acid.
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