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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 15, Issue 6, Pages 363-366
Original Article

Stability of Human Gallbladder Bile: Effect of Freezing

Paul Janowitz,1 Richard Mason,2 and Wolfgang Kratzer2

1Department of Internal Medicine, Krankenhaus Burg, Burg, Germany
2University of Ulm, Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm, Germany

Received 26 September 2000; Accepted 22 January 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the present study, the stability of the most essential biliary parameters of human gallbladder bile at -18°C was examined over several months. In 12 patients with gallstone disease (10 female, two male; 52.1±13.3 years of age), bile was obtained through fine needle puncture of the gallbladder under local anesthetic. The concentrations of total lipids, cholesterol, phospholipids and bile acids, and the cholesterol saturation index and crystal appearance time were determined before and after freezing over a mean period of 4.38±2.9 months. Gallbladder bile obtained by fine needle puncture has proved to be of excellent quality. The total lipid concentration was unchanged before (8.30±4.16 g/dL) and after freezing (9.16±4.54 g/dL, P=0.6027). The biliary cholesterol, phospholipids and bile acid concentrations, and cholesterol saturation index showed no statistically significant differences before and after freezing. A significant difference arises in the context of subdivision of the group to the nucleation time. Before freezing, most patients had a nucleation time between five and eight days, which shortened to between one and four days after thawing (P=0.0100). The authors conclude that, with the exception of the nucleation time, human gallbladder bile can be stored at -18°C for four months with stability of major lipid components.