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Effect of Inhibition of Intestinal Cholesterol Absorption on the Prevention of Cholesterol Gallstone Formation

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 5 ]


Piero Portincasa* and David Q.-H. Wang   Pages 421 - 429 ( 9 )


Background: Cholesterol cholelithiasis is a multifactorial hepatobiliary disease.

Methods: Interactions between genetic and environmental factors play a critical role in biliary cholesterol homeostasis and its imbalance enhances cholelithogenesis.

Results: In patients developing symptoms or complications of gallstone disease, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is recommended for treatment of gallstones. In a subgroup of patients with small, radiolucent pure cholesterol gallstones, the hydrophilic bile acid, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is still considered the only pharmacological therapy able to induce oral litholysis. Identifying novel and effective pharmacological therapies is being investigated.

Conclusions: We propose that the specific intestinal Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 protein inhibitor ezetimibe is a potential agent for preventing gallstone formation by reducing bioavailability of intestine- derived cholesterol to the liver for biliary secretion and desaturating bile through the inhibition of intestinal absorption of cholesterol.


Brush border, ezetimibe, gallstones, intestinal cholesterol absorption, Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 protein.


University of Bari Medical School, Clinica Medica , Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63104

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