No pathophysiologic relationship of soluble biliary proteins to cholesterol crystallization in human bile

David Q.H. Wang, David E. Cohen, Frank Lammert, Martin C. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study explores the pathophysiologic effects of soluble biliary glycoproteins in comparison to mucin gel and cholesterol content on microscopic crystal and liquid crystal detection times as well as crystallization sequences in lithogenic human biles incubated at 37°C. Gallbladder biles from 13 cholesterol gallstone patients were ultracentrifuged and microfiltered (samples I). Total biliary lipids were extracted from portions of samples I, and reconstituted with 0.15 M NaCl (pH 7.0) (samples II). Portions of samples II were supplemented with purified concanavalin A-binding biliary glycoproteins (final concentration = 1 mg/mL) (samples III), or mucin gel (samples IV), respectively, isolated from the same cholesterol gallstone biles. Samples V consisted of extracted biliary lipids from uncentrifuged and unfiltered bile samples reconstituted with 0.15 M NaCl (pH 7.0). Analytic lipid compositions of samples I through IV were identical for individual biles but, as anticipated, samples V displayed significantly higher cholesterol saturation indexes. Detection times of cholesterol crystals and liquid crystals were accelerated in the rank order of samples: IV > V > I = II = III, indicating that total soluble biliary glycoproteins in pathophysiologic concentration had no appreciable effect. Crystallization sequences (D. Q-H. Wang and M. C. Carey. J. Lipid Res. 1996.37: 606-630; and 2539-2549) were similar among samples I through V. Crystal detection times and numbers of solid cholesterol crystals were accelerated in proportion to added mucin gel and the cholesterol saturation of bile only. For pathophysiologically relevant conditions, our results clarify that mucin gel and cholesterol content, but not soluble biliary glycoproteins, promote cholesterol crystallization in human gallbladder bile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bile salt species
  • Concanavalin A-affinity chromatography
  • Gallstone
  • Microscopy
  • Nucleation
  • Phase diagram
  • Phospholipid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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