Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 529–533 | Cite as

Role of nutrient fat and cholecystokinin in regulation of gallbladder emptying in man

  • F. Froehlich
  • J. J. Gonvers
  • M. Fried
Pancreatic And Biliary Disorders


Postprandial gallbladder contraction is mainly regulated by cholecystokinin (CCK), but little is known about the dose-response relationship between CCK release and gallbladder contraction, in particular after meals with differing fat content. Decreased postprandial gallbladder emptying has been suggested to play a major role in the development of gallstones in man, and dietary factors may therefore be important in the pathogenesis of gallbladder stasis. We studied, in a randomized order, the effect of three isocaloric meals (250 ml) with identical osmolality on CCK release and gallbladder contraction in six healthy volunteers: (1) a pure fat meal (25 g triglycerides); (2) a mixed meal containing fat (8 g, 29% of caloric content), protein (10 g, 17%), and dextrose (32 g, 54%); and (3) a fat-free meal containing albumin (25 g, 46%) and dextrose (32 g, 54%). Gallbladder volumes and antral cross-sectional areas were determined by ultrasonography and plasma CCK and PP levels by RIA. The pure fat meal caused the highest CCK release (187±27; mean ±sem) and maximal (>85% of fasting volume) gallbladder contraction (3172±361; AUC) as compared to the other two meals (P<0.05). The mixed and the fat-free meal caused similarly low (<50% of fasting volume) gallbladder contraction (6052±342 and 6134±500, respectively), although they induced markedly different CCK levels (157±12 and 87±13, respectively;P<0.05). Gastric emptying rates were similar for all meals (18,500±3300, 18,600±2700 and 19,800±3100, respectively). The results of this study suggest that CCK plays a major role in the stimulation of gallbladder contraction but that other factors besides CCK are implied when fat-free or low-fat meals are ingested. Furthermore, our findings suggest that a fat intake of 25 g induces maximal gallbladder contraction and may thus prevent an understimulation of gallbladder contraction and the formation of gallbladder stones.

Key Words

cholecystokinin nutrient fat gallbladder motility gallstone formation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Froehlich
    • 1
  • J. J. Gonvers
    • 1
  • M. Fried
    • 1
  1. 1.From the Department of GastroenterologyPoliclinique médicale universitaire PMU/CHUVLausanneSwitzerland

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