Phosphatidylcholine-enriched diet prevents gallstone formation in mice susceptible to cholelithiasis

J Lipid Res. 2003 Dec;44(12):2297-303. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M300180-JLR200. Epub 2003 Jul 1.


Cholesterol gallstones affect approximately 10-15% of the adult population in North America. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is considered to be the main cholesterol solubilizer in bile. This study examined the effect of a PC-enriched diet on gallstone incidence in mice susceptible to cholelithiasis. The result obtained showed that the feeding of a lithogenic (LG) diet for 4 weeks or 8 weeks resulted in cholesterol gallstone incidences of 47% and 89%, respectively. These gallstone incidences were either reduced or prevented when the LG diet was enriched with 2% or 6% PC, respectively. The cholesterol saturation index (CSI) was reduced only in mice fed with LG + 6% PC diet as compared with mice fed the LG diet alone. However, in all groups, the CSI was significantly higher than in mice fed Purina chow diet. The biliary anionic polypeptide fraction (APF) was significantly increased in mice fed the LG + 2% PC diet and was reduced in those fed with LG + 6% PC diet. In conclusion, prevention or delay of gallstone formation was not due to a consistent effect on biliary lipid composition, suggesting a direct effect of PC on cholesterol solubilization and/or the effect of an additional nonlipid biliary component such as APF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile / chemistry
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholelithiasis / complications*
  • Cholelithiasis / diet therapy
  • Cholelithiasis / genetics
  • Cholelithiasis / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Gallstones / complications*
  • Gallstones / diet therapy
  • Gallstones / genetics
  • Gallstones / prevention & control*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Phosphatidylcholines / administration & dosage*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / pharmacology*
  • Phospholipids / analysis


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phospholipids