Effect of β-muricholic acid on the prevention and dissolution of cholesterol gallstones in C57L/J mice

David Q.H. Wang, Susumu Tazuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether β-muricholic acid, a natural trihydroxy hydrophilic bile acid of rodents, acts as a biliary cholesterol-desaturating agent to prevent cholesterol gallstones and if it facilitates the dissolution of gallstones compared with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). For gallstone prevention study, gallstone-susceptible male C57L mice were fed 8 weeks with a lithogenic diet (2% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid) with or without 0.5% UDCA or β-muricholic acid. For gallstone dissolution study, additional groups of mice that have formed gallstones were fed chow with or without 0.5% β-muricholic acid or UDCA for 8 weeks. One hundred percent of mice fed the lithogenic diet formed cholesterol gallstones. Addition of β-muricholic acid and UDCA decreased gallstone prevalence to 20% and 50% through significantly reducing biliary secretion rate, saturation index, and intestinal absorption of cholesterol, as well as inducing phase boundary shift and an enlarged Region E that prevented the transition of cholesterol from its liquid crystalline phase to solid crystals and stones. Eight weeks of β-muricholic acid and UDCA administration produced complete gallstone dissolution rates of 100% and 60% compared with the chow (10%). We conclude that β-muricholic acid is more effective than UDCA in treating or preventing diet-induced or experimental cholesterol gallstones in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1960-1968
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bile flow
  • Intestinal cholesterol absorption
  • Phase diagram
  • Phospholipid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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