, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 753-758

Oral acetylsalicylic acid induces biliary cholesterol secretion in the rat

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Several agents can alter biliary cholesterol secretion, critical for cholesterol excretion and gallstone formation. Although salicylate effects on bile formation and gallstones have been studied, biliary lipid secretion has not been measured during oral aspirin treatment. We examined whether oral acetylsalicylic acid affects bile lipid secretion. Three groups of young rats were fed chow for 3 wk. Two of the groups then received aspirin at either 1.67 or 3.33 g/kg diet for 4 d. Serum, hepatic, and bile lipids were measured, as were enzymes of cholesterol synthesis and esterification. With oral aspirin, bile cholesterol secretion increased by 42% and hepatic cholesteryl ester content decreased by 40%. Serum cholesterol and hepatic free cholesterol did not change. To evaluate mechanisms of the cholesterol hypersecretion, hypothyroid animals fed low-fat or fish oil diets and repleted with triiodothyronine were also studied. Aspirin stimulated cholesterol secretion to a degree similar to triiodothyronine. An additive response was seen in fish oilfed rats. Aspirin did not appear to have a primary action on 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase or acyl CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase activities, and had no direct effect on esterification of cholesterol by isolated hepatocytes. Aspirin may directly increase cholesterol transport into bile or have cell membrane effects which alter cholesterol transport. It remains to be determined whether the observed alterations in bile cholesterol secretion are specific to the rat or also apply to humans.