Pathways of cholesterol crystallization in model bile and native bile

P. Portincasa, A. Moschetta, K. J. Van Erpecum, G. Calamita, A. Margari, G. P. VanBerge-Henegouwen, G. Palasciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Hypersecretion of hepatic cholesterol, chronic supersaturation of bile with cholesterol and rapid precipitation of cholesterol crystals in the gallbladder from cholesterol-enriched vesicles represent the primum movens in cholesterol gallstone formation. Physical-chemical factors and pathways leading to cholesterol crystallization can be investigated in artificial model biles and ex vivo in fresh human bile. Depending on modulatory factors (i.e., lipid concentration, bile salt or phospholipid species, humidity, mucins, etc.), cholesterol can precipitate in several forms (i.e., monohydrate, anhydrous) and habits (i.e., plate-like, needle-like, intermediate arcs, filaments, tubules, spirals). Careful analysis of biliary cholesterol crystals includes biochemical analysis of precipitated crystals, polarizing quantitative light microscopy, and turbidimetric methods. In this paper, recent concepts on cholesterol crystallization in artificial model biles as well as in human bile will be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Bile lipids
  • Cholesterol carriers
  • Gallstones
  • Nephelometry
  • Turbidimetric methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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