Geeldikkop was induced in a sheep by dosing it orally with a crude extract of the steroidal saponins
from Tribulus terrestris. GC-MS analysis of the sheep's ruminal contents, bile, faeces and urine for
free and conjugated sapogenins, revealed the general features of the metabolic pathway by which diosgenin
and yamogenin glycosides were converted into the glucuronides of epismilagenin and episarsasapogenin,
the major constituents of the biliary crystals that usually form during geeldikkop. Other steroidal
saponins in the T. terrestris extract, including those derived from tigogenin, neotigogenin, gitogenin and
neogitogenin, appear to be non-lithogenic. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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