We studied the effects of bile stasis in a guinea pig model of pigment gallstone. The common bile ducts of guinea pigs were partially ligated, and the guinea pigs killed one or two weeks later. Biliary sludge or stones were examined with the Fourier transform infrared: spectroscopy and the scanning electromicroscopy. The bile was analyzed for pH, free calcium, bile acids and bilirubin fractions, and the activities of both bacterial and endogenous β- glucuronidase. After bile duct ligation, calcium bilirubinate precipitates or stones formed in all except one of the animals studied. The bile pH and the proportion of unconjugated bilirubin rose after bile duct ligation, with a concomitant fall of bilirubin monoglucuronide. The activity of bacterial β- glucuronidase decreased after ligation, while the activity of endogenous β- glucuronidase rose at week 2. Our results imply that precipitation of calcium bilirubinate in this animal model was induced by an increased bile pH and the nonenzymatic hydrolysis of conjugated bilirubin.
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