Interconversions of lipid aggregates in rat and model bile

T. E. Little, S. P. Lee, H. Madani, E. W. Kaler, K. Chinn

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The dynamic interchange of cholesterol and the phase transition between nonmicellar and micellar aggregates in rat and model bile were characterized with gel-permeation chromatography, quasi-elastic light scattering, turbidity measurements, and by radiolabeling lipid aggregates in bile. Cholesterol partitioned into either the micellar or nonmicellar phases independent of the lipid aggregate structure. In model bile, increasing bile salt concentrations led to a decrease in the relative proportion of nonmicellar aggregates beginning at 5 mM taurocholate (TC), while the relative cholesterol content of the nonmicellar fraction increased from 1.0 to 2.7 ± 2.0 (means ± SD). In rats, creation of a biliary fistula resulted in a decrease of bile salts from 41 to 4 mM. Mixed micelles increased from 25 to 120 AÅ in radius, while nonmicellar aggregates increased from 180 to 800 AÅ in radius. Addition of TC to model bile (cholesterol:lecithin = 1:1) vesicles with total lipid concentrations <7 mM yielded a progressive shift of vesicles (450 AÅ) to mixed micelles (30 AÅ). For mixtures with higher total lipid concentrations, addition of TC promoted substantial vesicle aggregation and resulted in formation of a third phase containing lipid aggregates larger in size than the initial vesicles. These results suggest that rapid exchange of cholesterol occurs in bile and that significant remodeling of vesicles can occur. These alterations in vesicles include both enrichment in cholesterol content and formation of larger aggregates during increases in bile salt concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G70-G79
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1 23-1
StatePublished - 1991


  • Bile salt
  • Biliary cholesterol
  • Micelle
  • Quasi-elastic light scattering
  • Vesicle


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