Gallbladder stasis occurs before gallstone formation and provides the link between the hepatic secretion of supersaturated bile and cholesterol cholelithiasis. We recently observed that cystic duct resistance increases while sphincter of Oddi resistance is unchanged in the presence of lithogenic bile without gallstones. Whether alterations in gallbladder function also lead to gallbladder stasis has been unclear. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that before gallstone formation, stasis results from increased cystic duct resistance and altered gallbladder compliance. Adult, male prairie dogs were fed either a trace cholesterol (control) or a 0.4 percent cholesterol-enriched diet. Cystic duct resistance increased but gallbladder compliance was unchanged before gallstone formation. A significant correlation (p < 0.001) was found between the lithogenic index and cystic duct resistance in pregallstone animals. We conclude that increased resistance to flow across the cystic duct, and not altered gallbladder compliance, is etiologically related to bile stasis, an important event in gallstone formation.
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