Enhanced hepatocellular trafficking of cholesterol to the bile canaliculus and cholesterol hypersecretion appears critical for gallstone formation. Therefore, we studied in more detail the hepatic cholesterol transport pathways in a mouse model of cholesterol gallstone disease. Biliary lipid secretion rates, plasma lipoprotein levels, hepatic expression of lipoprotein receptors, lipid regulatory enzymes, and putative cholesterol transporting proteins were analyzed in gallstone-susceptible C57L/J and gallstone-resistant AKR/J mice, which were fed a lithogenic diet. Biliary cholesterol hypersecretion in C57L mice was associated with decreased plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and significant hepatic induction of the HDL receptor (SRBI) and cholesteryl ester hydrolase. In response to the lithogenic diet, fatty-acid binding protein of liver (FABPL) was markedly induced in both mouse strains. Caveolin 1 was elevated only in plasma membranes of gallstone-susceptible C57L mice, which also failed to down-regulate cholesterol synthesis. These data suggest a role of the reverse cholesterol transport pathway for genetically determined gallstone susceptibility in the mouse.