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Metabolism. 1978 Aug;27(8):961-9.

Sex differences in the size of bile acid pools.


In view of the excess prevalence of gallstones among women and the association of gallstones with diminished bile acid pool size, we measured bile acid pools in 27 male and 25 female healthy human volunteers. The average bile acid pool in the women was significantly smaller than in the men (2.25 +/- .12 g versus 2.88 +/- .16 g; p = 0.003). Chenodeoxycholic acid pool size, computed from bile acid composition data available in 43 of these subjects, was also smaller in women than men (0.94 +/- 0.06 versus 1.22 +/- 0.07 g; p = 0.004). Age, race, and body size bore no statistically significant relationship to bile acid pool size. Biliary cholesterol saturation was positively correlated with weight and obesity and showed a significant inverse correlation with chenodeoxycholic acid pool size, but not with total bile acid pool size. These findings suggest a possible mechanism for the higher prevalence of gallstones among women.

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