Lipid Solubilisation in Bile

  • M. C. Carey


Bile is an optically-clear, lipid-rich solution composed principally of two insoluble lipids, cholesterol and phosphatidycholine (lecithin), and two soluble lipids, bile salts and bilirubin conjugates1. The insoluble lipids interact with each other and with the soluble lipids to become dispersed in a number of colloid-chemical states in bile. An understanding of the interactions of individual biliary lipids with water, and with each other in water, is central to the comprehension of the physical chemistry of cholesterol and phosphatidylcholine solubilisation in native bile2. It gives us an insight into the subtle imbalances in these interactions that lead to the nucleation and precipitation from bile of cholesterol monohydrate and calcium bilirubinates, the principal components of human gallstones3. Because cholesterol stones are the most common human gallstones3, I will focus in this chapter upon cholesterol monohydrate solubility in model and native biles. Little systematic information is available yet on the physical chemistry of bile pigments or of calcium bilirubinate solubility in bile4.


Bile Acid Bile Salt Mixed Micelle Lamellar Phase Sodium Taurocholate 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Carey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineHarvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Digestive Diseases CenterBostonUSA

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