The early appearance of cholesterol gallstones is very common in Chile. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in this phenomenon, the size of the bile acid pool and the secretion of biliary lipids were studied in two groups of young women with normal weights and radiologically functioning gallbladders: nine with cholesterol gallstones and 14 healthy volunteers. The bile acid pool was similar in control and gallstone patients. The secretory rates of bile acids and phospholipids were comparable and significantly correlated in both groups. On the other hand, cholesterol output was higher in gallstone patients. In controls there was a significant correlation between the output of bile acids and cholesterol, but no correlation was found in the gallstone group. This study suggests that cholesterol hypersecretion into the bile is a major factor in the pathogenesis of cholesterol gallstone disease in young Chilean women with normal weights.
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