Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Alcohol protects against cholesterol gallstone formation.

By W H Schwesinger, W E Kurtin and R Johnson


Epidemiologic studies have suggested that alcohol intake may protect against cholelithiasis. Gallstone formation was studied in 20 prairie dogs fed a 0.4% cholesterol-supplemented liquid diet. In ten animals, ethanol provided 35% of total calories. In ten pair-fed controls, ethanol was replaced with isocaloric maltose. After 3 months the gallbladders were inspected for gallstones, and gallbladder bile was analyzed. Cholesterol macroaggregates were present in all controls and pigment concretions were noted in five. No stones were observed in ethanol-fed animals. Bile in the ethanol group contained less cholesterol than the controls (5.60 +/- 0.71 vs. 9.16 +/- 0.61 mmol/L, p less than 0.05) while phospholipids, total bile acids, and bilirubin were unchanged. The resulting cholesterol saturation index was reduced in the ethanol group (0.81 vs. 1.22, p less than 0.05). The ratios of trihydroxy to dihydroxy bile acids were also different (2.07 +/- 0.25 in ETOH vs. 3.29 in controls, p less than 0.05). The bile calcium concentration was higher in control animals presumably secondary to the use of complex sugars (5.36 +/- 0.37 vs. 3.77 +/- 0.32 mmol/L, p less than 0.05). These results confirm that ethanol inhibits cholesterol gallstone formation. They further suggest that this effect is dependent on reductions of biliary cholesterol and selective changes in bile acid concentrations

Topics: Research Article
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.