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Jüngst, Dieter; Lang, Thomas; Huber, P.; Lange, V. and Paumgartner, Gustav (1993): Effect of phospholipids and bile acids on cholesterol nucleation time and vesicular/micellar cholesterol in gallbladder bile of patients with cholesterol stones. In: Journal of lipid research, Vol. 34, No. 9: pp. 1457-1464 [PDF, 892kB]


Supersaturation and rapid nucleation of cholesterol in bile are of key importance in the pathogenesis of cholesterol gallstones. While the effects of bile acids and phospholipids on cholesterol saturation of bile have been extensively studied, their influence on the cholesterol nucleation time has not been compared. We, therefore, investigated whether increases of bile acid or phospholipid concentrations in bile by in vitro supplementation affect the cholesterol nucleation time. Bile samples were obtained at surgery from patients with cholesterol gallstones. Prior to the nucleation assay the bile samples were divided into 0.5-ml aliquots and supplemented with 1.25, 2.5, 5.0, and 10.0 mumol/ml of different phosphatidylcholines (PC-dimyristoyl, PC- dipalmitoyl, PC-distearoyl, and extracted biliary PCs) or with 5.0, 10.0, and 20.0 mumol/ml of bile acids (glycine or taurine conjugates of cholic acid, deoxycholic acid, or chenodeoxycholic acid). The increase of phosphatidylcholine or bile acid concentration decreased the mean cholesterol saturation index to a similar extent (PC: 0.1-0.3; BA: 0.1- 0.2). Supplementations of bile with increasing amounts of synthetic or biliary PCs caused a marked prolongation of the nucleation time in bile from 1.5 +/- 0.2 up to > or = 21 days or 2.5 +/- 0.7 up to > or = 21 days. Concurrently, biliary cholesterol was shifted from vesicles to mixed micelles and the cholesterol/phospholipid ratio of the remaining vesicles was progressively lowered. In contrast, the addition of bile acids to gallbladder bile did not affect the cholesterol nucleation time (2.2 +/- 0.3 days), the percentage of vesicular cholesterol, or the cholesterol/phospholipid ratio of vesicles and micelles.

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