Journal of steroid biochemistry vol:36 issue:5 pages:451-6
Selective association of germ-free (GF) rats with dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) desulfating bacteria allowed us to assess the exact impact of intestinal bacterial desulfation on the excretion and enterohepatic circulation of orally administered DHEAS. Germ-free rats selectively associated with the DHEAS-desulfating strain Peptococcus niger H4 (H4 rats) excreted 50% of the total label recovered within 17 h vs 21 h in GF rats and 13 h 23 min in conventional (CV) rats. Germ-free rats excreted 30% of the total label recovered via their urine. However, association of GF rats with the desulfating microorganism increased urinary excretion to 46%, comparable to the 45.5% found in CV rats. Fractionation of fecal label yielded 70% sulfoconjugated DHEAS and 2% unconjugated dehydroepiandrosterone in GF rats vs 5 and 77% in CV rats, and 55 and 14% in H4 rats, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the intestinal bacterial desulfation of DHEAS stimulated the enterohepatic circulation of DHEAS. This in turn increased the urinary excretion of label resulting in an accelerated elimination of labeled DHEAS from the body.