Background: Cholesterol cholelithiasis is a multifactorial hepatobiliary disease.
Methods: Interactions between genetic and environmental factors play a critical role in biliary
cholesterol homeostasis and its imbalance enhances cholelithogenesis.
Results: In patients developing symptoms or complications of gallstone disease, laparoscopic
cholecystectomy is recommended for treatment of gallstones. In a subgroup of patients with small,
radiolucent pure cholesterol gallstones, the hydrophilic bile acid, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is
still considered the only pharmacological therapy able to induce oral litholysis. Identifying novel
and effective pharmacological therapies is being investigated.
Conclusions: We propose that the specific intestinal Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 protein inhibitor
ezetimibe is a potential agent for preventing gallstone formation by reducing bioavailability of intestine-
derived cholesterol to the liver for biliary secretion and desaturating bile through the inhibition
of intestinal absorption of cholesterol.