This study investigated whether β-muricholic acid, a natural trihydroxy hydrophilic bile acid of rodents, acts as a biliary cholesterol-desaturating agent to prevent cholesterol gallstones and if it facilitates the dissolution of gallstones compared with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). For gallstone prevention study, gallstone-susceptible male C57L mice were fed 8 weeks with a lithogenic diet (2% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid) with or without 0.5% UDCA or β-muricholic acid. For gallstone dissolution study, additional groups of mice that have formed gallstones were fed chow with or without 0.5% β-muricholic acid or UDCA for 8 weeks. One hundred percent of mice fed the lithogenic diet formed cholesterol gallstones. Addition of β-muricholic acid and UDCA decreased gallstone prevalence to 20% and 50% through significantly reducing biliary secretion rate, saturation index, and intestinal absorption of cholesterol, as well as inducing phase boundary shift and an enlarged Region E that prevented the transition of cholesterol from its liquid crystalline phase to solid crystals and stones. Eight weeks of β-muricholic acid and UDCA administration produced complete gallstone dissolution rates of 100% and 60% compared with the chow (10%). We conclude that β-muricholic acid is more effective than UDCA in treating or preventing diet-induced or experimental cholesterol gallstones in mice.
- Bile flow
- Intestinal cholesterol absorption
- Phase diagram
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology