The effects of short term lipid infusion on plasma and hepatic bile lipids in humans

R. Pakula, F. M. Konikoff, A. M. Moser, F. Greif, A. Tietz, T. Gilat, M. Rubin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background - Patients on parenteral nutrition have an increased incidence of gall bladder sludge and gallstone disease, thought to be related to bile stasis. Intravenous lipid emulsions, especially those containing medium chain triglycerides, have also been shown to have a lithogenic effect on the composition of bile in the gall bladder. Aims - To determine whether lipid infusion influences hepatic bile composition in patients with an indwelling T tube following cholecystectomy and choledochotomy. Methods - In eight patients undergoing the above surgical procedure, the time at which effects of the interrupted enterohepatic circulation were minimal was determined. Twenty two cholesterol gallstone patients with bile fistula were then randomised to receive an infusion of a lipid emulsion containing either long chain triglycerides or a mixture of long and medium chain triglycerides. Results - Lipid infusion resulted in a significant increase in plasma levels of triglycerides and phospholipids. Both lipid emulsions caused an increase in hepatic biliary cholesterol level and cholesterol saturation index, but this effect was more pronounced with medium chain triglycerides. The fatty acid composition of biliary phospholipids showed a significant enrichment of linoleic acid by both lipid infusions. Conclusions - Infusion of triglycerides causes lithogenic changes in hepatic bile composition in humans, the lithogenic effect of infusion of medium chain triglycerides being more pronounced than that of long chain triglycerides. This effect, coupled with gall bladder stasis, may be responsible for the increased risk of biliary sludge and gallstone formation in patients on long term lipid infusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bile
  • Cholesterol
  • Gallstones
  • Lipid emulsion
  • Long chain triglycerides
  • Medium chain triglycerides


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