Cholesterol Solubility in Lecithin-Bile Salt Systems

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Science  25 Aug 1972:
Vol. 177, Issue 4050, pp. 701
DOI: 10.1126/science.177.4050.701


The method of sample preparation can markedly influence the rate of dissolution and attainment of supersaturated states of cholesterol. The equilibrium solubility of cholesterol, studied as a function of its physical state in a model bile system, is almost half that of previously accepted values. Slow attainment of the equilibrium state may have acted to bias previous studies. Extrapolation of our data to the clinical situation reveals that many persons considered normal by present standards actually possess bile that is supersaturated with respect to cholesterol and are thus potential gallstone formers.