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Steroids. 2010 Mar;75(3):272-81. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Effect of dietary garlic and onion on biliary proteins and lipid peroxidation which influence cholesterol nucleation in bile.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR, Mysore 570 020, India.


Formation of cholesterol gallstones in gallbladder is controlled by procrystallizing and anticrystallizing factors present in bile. Dietary garlic and onion have been recently observed to possess anti-lithogenic potential in experimental mice. In this investigation, the role of biliary proteins from rats fed lithogenic diet or garlic/onion-containing diet in the formation of cholesterol gallstones in model bile was studied. Cholesterol nucleation time of the bile from lithogenic diet group was prolonged when mixed with bile from garlic or onion groups. High molecular weight proteins of bile from garlic and onion groups delayed cholesterol crystal growth in model bile. Low molecular weight (LMW) proteins from the bile of lithogenic diet group promoted cholesterol crystal growth in model bile, while LMW protein fraction isolated from the bile of garlic and onion groups delayed the same. Biliary LMW protein fraction was subjected to affinity chromatography using Con-A and the lectin-bound and unbound fractions were studied for their influence on cholesterol nucleation time in model bile. Major portion of biliary LMW proteins in lithogenic diet group was bound to Con-A, and this protein fraction promoted cholesterol nucleation time and increased cholesterol crystal growth rate, whereas Con-A unbound fraction delayed the onset of cholesterol crystallization. Biliary protein from garlic/onion group delayed the crystallization and interfered with pronucleating activity of Con-A bound protein fraction. These data suggest that apart from the beneficial modulation of biliary cholesterol saturation index, these Allium spices also influence cholesterol nucleating and antinucleating protein factors that contribute to their anti-lithogenic potential.

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