Inhibition of cholesterol crystal formation by apolipoproteins in supersaturated model bile

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Science  03 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4661, pp. 514-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.6429856


Apolipoproteins A-1 and A-2 were purified from human plasma. At concentrations present in human bile these proteins prolonged the nucleation time of cholesterol monohydrate crystals when added to model systems of supersaturated bile. In contrast, apolipoprotein C-3 and other serum proteins did not have this effect. Also, when human gallbladder bile was fractionated by gel filtration chromatography, apolipoproteins A-1 and A-2 were among the proteins present in a fraction of bile enriched in potent inhibitors of cholesterol crystal nucleation. These findings suggest that apolipoproteins A-1 and A-2 in supersaturated human gallbladder bile could inhibit the rate of formation of solid cholesterol crystals and thus help to prevent spontaneous cholesterol gallstone formation in humans.