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Gastroenterology. 1998 May;114(5):1016-23.

Cholesterol saturation, not proteins or cholecystitis, is critical for crystal formation in human gallbladder bile.

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  • 1Departamentos de, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.



Biliary proteins are promoters of cholesterol crystallization in artificial model bile. However, their pathogenic importance for cholesterol precipitation in native gallbladder bile (GB) is uncertain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of biliary lipids and proteins on cholesterol crystal detection time (ChCDT) of GB in patients with gallstones.


ChCDT and concentrations of lipids, albumin, mucins, aminopeptidase N, alpha1-acid glycoprotein, haptoglobin, and immunoglobulins (Igs) were measured in GB of 92 patients, 52 of whom had cholesterol gallstones.


ChCDT was markedly reduced in gallstone patients. Compared with patients without gallstones, they had a significant increase in cholesterol saturation and total protein, albumin, mucin, and IgG biliary concentrations. In univariate analysis, ChCDT of GB was significantly correlated with cholesterol saturation and total lipid, protein, Ig, aminopeptidase N, and alpha1-acid glycoprotein concentrations. However, stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that only cholesterol saturation independently correlated to ChCDT. Gallbladder inflammation correlated with the concentration of Igs, but subtraction of IgG from GB did not modify the ChCDT.


Biliary cholesterol transport and saturation, but not proteins, appear critical for the cholesterol crystallization abnormality observed in native bile from patients with gallstones.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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