Background & aims: Among dieting obese patients, cholesterol gallstone formation is preceded by increases in levels of biliary cholesterol saturation, arachidonate, prostaglandin E2, total glycoproteins, and rapid nucleation of cholesterol. The aim of this study was to determine if similar increases occur among postmenopausal women with cholesterol crystals in their bile.
Methods: In 101 postmenopausal women without gallstones, gallbladder bile was sampled via nasoduodenal tube and analyzed.
Results: Nineteen of the women had saturated bile and crystals. Levels of cholesterol saturation, arachidonate, prostaglandin E2, and total glycoprotein were highest among women with cholesterol-saturated bile and cholesterol crystals and lowest among women with unsaturated bile. Levels were intermediate among women with saturated bile but no crystals.
Conclusions: Among postmenopausal women, increases in levels of biliary cholesterol saturation, arachidonate, prostaglandin E2, and total glycoproteins may be important pathophysiologically in the rapid nucleation of cholesterol crystals.