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Adv Clin Chem. 2013;60:143-85.

Genetics of gallstone disease.

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Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Gallstone disease (GSD) is one of the most common biliary tract disorders worldwide. The prevalence, however, varies from 5.9-21.9% in Western society to 3.1-10.7% in Asia. Most gallstones (75%) are silent. Approximately half of symptomatic gallstone carriers experience a second episode of biliary pain within 1 year. These individuals are at increased risk of developing acute cholecystitis, acute cholangitis, and biliary pancreatitis. As can be expected, these complications burden health care systems because of their invasive nature and surgical cost. Factors that contribute to gallstone formation include supersaturation of cholesterol in bile, gallbladder hypomotility, destabilization of bile by kinetic protein factors, and abnormal mucins. Epidemiologic studies have implicated multiple environmental factors and some common genetic elements in gallstone formation. Genetic factors that influence gallstone formation have been elaborated from linkage studies of twins, families, and ethnicities. Accumulating evidence suggests that genetic factors play a role in GSD.

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