Polarizing light microscopy of gallbladder bile shows the deposition of cholesterol crystals, which can form gallstones under the right biochemical conditions. Image: Courtesy of David Mangelsdorf/HHMI at UT Southwestern Medical Center
A promising experimental compound prevents cholesterol gallstone disease in mice by stimulating the biochemical pathway that controls bile acid secretion by the liver, according to new studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers.
The findings suggest new approaches to developing drugs to prevent the disease, which afflicts some 20 million people a year. The studies also propose novel strategies for developing diagnostic tests to identify people with a genetically increased risk for developing gallstones.
A research team led by David J. Mangelsdorf, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, published its findings November 21, 2004, in the advance online version of the journal Nature Medicine. Co-authors of the paper included HHMI research associate Antonio Moschetta and Angie Bookout in Mangelsdorf’s laboratory.
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