Cholelithiasis in hamsters: Effects of cholic acid and calcium on gallstone formation

Bertram I. Cohen, Naoyuki Matoba, Erwin H. Mosbach, Richard J. Stenger, Charles K. McSherry

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3 Scopus citations


Dietary cholic acid (0.1%) and/or calcium (2.6% as calcium carbonate) were added to a semipurified diet containing cholesterol and ethynyl estradiol to determine whether the incidence of pigment and/or cholesterol gallstones would be changed. Male golden Syrian hamsters were fed the experimental diets for 96 days (Group 1, control; Group 3, cholic acid plus calcium) or only an average of 60 days (Group 2, 0.1% cholic acid). Animals in Group 2 became ill (weight loss, low food intake, diarrhea) possibly due to cholic acid (or deoxycholic acid) toxicity. Cholesterol gallstones and crystals were absent in all experimental groups. The incidence of pigment gallstones was: control, Group 1, 12/16; 0.1% cholic acid, Group 2, 3/13; and 0.1% cholic acid plus calcium, Group 3, 11/22. Cholic acid with or without calcium produced an elevation of both liver and plasma cholesterol: Group 2, 80.1 mg/g and 501 mg/dl; Group 3, 103.7 mg/g and 475 mg/dl vs Group 1, 65 mg/g and 209 mg/dl, respectively. The lithogenic indices of the bile were lower in Groups 2 and 3 compared to Group 1, controls, 0.45 and 0.58 vs 1.16, respectively. The extent of the portal tract pathology could not be correlated with the presence or absence of pigment gallstones or with the levels of lithocholic acid in the hamster bile. In summary, when semipurified diets were supplemented with ethynyl estradiol and cholic acid, with and without calcium supplementation, no cholesterol gallstones formed and the incidence of pigment gallstones was not altered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-487
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989


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