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Gastroenterology. 2001 Feb;120(2):506-11.

Gallbladder muscle dysfunction in patients with chronic acalculous disease.

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Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.



The mechanisms responsible for the abnormalities of gallbladder emptying in patients with chronic acalculous gallbladder disease (AGD) have not been elucidated. This study was designed to determine whether a muscle defect could explain this gallbladder dysfunction.


Gallbladder contraction induced by a continuous intravenous cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8) infusion was determined by ultrasonography in control subjects, patients with AGD, pigment stones, and cholesterol stones. Muscle cells were obtained by enzymatic digestion. (125)I-CCK-8 binding and [(35)S]guanosine triphosphate gamma S (GTP gamma S) binding studies were performed.


In vivo gallbladder contraction induced by CCK-8 was significantly lower in AGD (29.4%) and cholesterol stones (28.8%) than in pigment stones (59.8%) and normal controls (57.8%; P < 0.01). In vitro muscle cell contraction induced by CCK-8 was also lower in AGD than in pigment stones. It remained impaired in AGD after stimulation with the G-protein activators GTP gamma S and AlF(4) and with the second messenger 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol. However, GTP gamma S binding induced by CCK-8 and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and the binding capacity of CCK receptors were not different between AGD and pigment stones.


These findings suggest that there is a good correlation between in vivo and in vitro gallbladder response to CCK-8 in patients with AGD. Unlike those found in cholesterol stones, the muscle defects in AGD appear to reside in the contractile apparatus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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