Gallstone disease is exceptionally common, occurring especially in Western populations, with cholesterol gallstones predominating. Currently, it is believed that obesity is the most consistent and important risk factor for the development of cholesterol gallstones. Obesity has been shown to be associated with the supersaturation of bile with cholesterol because of increased hepatic secretion of the sterol. In accord with current information from experimental studies, leptin appears to be involved in biliary cholesterol secretion and cholesterol gallstone formation in humans. This review summarizes the current information on the role of obesity in biliary lipid secretion as well as the effect of leptin and its potential consequences for gallstone formation and therapy in the obese.
Keywords: gallstones, leptin, obesity, cholesterol, gallbladder
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