Biliary lipid composition, cholesterol saturation, and bile acid pattern were determined in fasting duodenal bile of 10 patients (four men and six women, mean age 41 years) with Crohn's disease and a history of ileal resection (mean 64 cm). The data were compared with corresponding values in a group of healthy subjects. None of the patients with Crohn's disease had supersaturated bile. Cholesterol saturation was significantly lower in the patients with Crohn's disease than in the healthy subjects. The molar percentage of cholesterol was also lower among the patients but there was no significant difference. The molar percentages of phospholipids and bile acids were normal. Bile acid composition in the patients with ileal resection was characterised by a significant decrease in the deoxycholic acid fraction and a pronounced increase in the ursodeoxycholic acid fraction compared with the healthy subjects. The surprisingly high percentage of ursodeoxycholic acid may contribute to the low degree of cholesterol saturation in bile. Based on these results patients with Crohn's disease should not have an increased risk of cholesterol gall stone formation.
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