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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2017 Aug 11:1-8. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2017.1365166. [Epub ahead of print]

Metabolic biomarkers and gallstone disease - a population-based study.

Author information

a Digestive Disease Center , Bispebjerg University Hospital , Copenhagen , Denmark.
b Research Centre for Prevention and Health , Centre for Health, Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen , Denmark.
c Institute for Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences , University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen , Denmark.
d Clinical Research Centre , Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre , Hvidovre , Denmark.
e Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences , University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen , Denmark.
f The Faculty of Medicine , Aalborg University, Aalborg , Denmark.



The objectives for this study were to examine the associations between metabolic biomarkers of obesity including insulin resistance, vascular dysfunction, systemic inflammation, genetic susceptibility and ultrasound proven gallstone disease or cholecystectomy in a population-based cross-sectional study.


A total of 2650 participants were included, of whom 422 had gallstone disease. Associations between selected metabolic biomarkers and gallstone disease were estimated by multivariable logistic regression models and expressed as odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).


Gallstone disease was associated with fasting glucose (OR 1.14, 95% CI [1.05;1.24]), fasting insulin (OR 1.03, 95% CI [1.01;1.05]), homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance (OR 1.18, 95% CI [1.02;1.36]), the metabolic syndrome (OR 1.51, 95% CI [1.16;1.96]), white blood cell count (OR 1.07, 95% CI [1.00;1.15]) and C-reactive protein (OR 1.03, 95% CI [1.01;1.05]). A tendency towards an association for soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor was also found (OR 1.08, 95% CI [0.99;1.18]). The MC4R(rs17782313) (OR 1.27, 95% CI [1.02;1.58]), MAP2K5(rs2241423) (OR 1.80, 95% CI [1.04;3.41]), NRXN3(rs10146997) (OR 1.26, 95% CI [1.01;1.57]), HHEX(rs1111875) (OR 1.29, 95% CI [1.03;1.62]), FAIM2(rs7138803) (OR 0.66, 95% CI [0.48;0.91]), and apolipoprotein E4 allele (OR 0.76, 95% CI [0.59;0.98]) were associated with gallstone disease. Urinary albumin was not associated with gallstone disease. The association between BMI and gallstone disease was explained by insulin resistance.


Biomarkers of insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and genetic obesity or type 2 diabetes risk alleles seem to be associated with gallstone disease. Future studies should explore temporal associations and genetic associations in other populations in order to clarify targets for prevention or intervention.


Cholelithiasis; gallbladder diseases; gallstones; ultrasonography

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