A compound that alters the composition of the digestive fluid bile might prevent gallstone formation, according to a report in the December issue of Nature Medicine.
Cholesterol gallstone disease occurs when cholesterol builds up in bile, the digestive substance made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Previous work had suggested that the gene regulator FXR (farnesoid X receptor) can control the amount of cholesterol in the bile. David Mangelsdorf and colleagues found that mice lacking FXR are prone to developing gallstones. What's more, a compound that activates FXR keeps cholesterol levels low and prevents gallstone formation. The compound could provide an alternative to surgery to removing the gallbladder, a common treatment when gallstones become lodged in the bile duct and become painful.
David Mangelsdorf (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, US)
Tel: + 1 214 648 6349, E-mail: Davo.Mango@UTSouthwestern.edu
Also available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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