Quantitation of phospholipid vesicles and their cholesterol content in human bile by quasi-elastic light scattering

Giora J. Sömjen*, P. Robert C. Harvey, Ruth Rosenberg, Nachum Werbin, Steven M. Strasberg, Tuvia Gilat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The proportion of biliary cholesterol carried by phospholipid vesicles may be an important determinant of the lithogenicity of bile. The distribution of biliary cholesterol between vesicles and other aggregational forms is often determined by gel filtration under standard conditions. The aim of this study was to measure the proportion of biliary cholesterol in vesicles in native unprocessed bile and to compare it with values obtained by chromatography. A modified quasi-elastic light-scattering method was used to measure vesicular cholesterol in whole bile. It was suitable only for lightly pigmented biles with a relatively monodisperse population of vesicles. In ten human biles examined, the proportion of cholesterol in vesicles by gel filtration was 40 ± 8.1% (mean ± S.D.) by chemical measurement, and 38 ± 7.2% by [3H]cholesterol estimation. Quasi-elastic light-scattering measurements of these biles produced vesicular cholesterol values of 36 ± 9.4%. Chromatography may affect lipid particles in bile. Nevertheless, it provides a relatively accurate measurement of biliary cholesterol in vesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number2
StatePublished - 25 Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • (Human)
  • (Phospholipid vesicle)
  • Bile
  • Cholesterol
  • Quasi-electric light scattering


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