High cholesterol absorption efficiency and rapid biliary secretion of chylomicron remnant cholesterol enhance cholelithogenesis in gallstone-susceptible mice

David Q.H. Wang, Lunan Zhang, Helen H. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


The study of chylomicron pathway through which it exerts its metabolic effects on biliary cholesterol secretion is crucial for understanding how high dietary cholesterol influences cholelithogenesis. We explored a relationship between cholesterol absorption efficiency and gallstone prevalence in 15 strains of inbred male mice and the metabolic fate of chylomicron and chylomicron remnant cholesterol in gallstone-susceptible C57L and gallstone-resistant AKR mice. Our results show a positive and significant (P<0.0001, r=0.87) correlation between percent cholesterol absorption and gallstone prevalence rates. Compared with AKR mice, C57L mice displayed significantly greater absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine, more rapid plasma clearance of chylomicrons and chylomicron remnants, higher activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase, greater hepatic uptake of chylomicron remnants, and faster secretion of chylomicron remnant cholesterol from plasma into bile. All of these increased susceptibility to cholesterol gallstone formation in C57L mice. We conclude that genetic variations in cholesterol absorption efficiency are associated with cholesterol gallstone formation in inbred mice and cholesterol absorbed from the intestine provides an important source for biliary hypersecretion. Differential metabolism of the chylomicron remnant cholesterol between C57L and AKR mice clearly plays a crucial role in the formation of lithogenic bile and gallstones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2005



  • Bile
  • Bile flow
  • Biliary cholesterol secretion
  • Gallstone
  • Intestinal cholesterol absorption
  • Lymph
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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