Influence of bezafibrate on hepatic cholesterol metabolism in gallstone patients: Reduced activity of cholesterol 7α‐hydroxylase

Dagny Ståhlberg, Eva Reihnér, Mats Rudling, Lars Berglund, Kurt Einarsson, Bo Angelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Bezafibrate is a hypolipidemic fibric acid derivative known to induce cholesterol supersaturation of bile. To characterize its effects on hepatic cholesterol metabolism, 31 normolipidemic, normal‐weight patients with gallstones undergoing cholecystectomy were studied. Eleven patients (5 men) were randomized to treatment with bezafibrate, 200 mg three times daily for 4 weeks before operation; the remaining 20 patients (5 men) served as nontreatment controls. At operation, a liver biopsy specimen was obtained under standardized conditions and several important parameters of cholesterol metabolism were assayed. Bezafibrate treatment lowered total plasma cholesterol and triglycerides 30% and 37%, respectively. The hepatic cholesterol 7α‐hydroxylasé activity was reduced by ≈60% in the bezafibrate treated patients compared with the controls, whereas the acyl‐coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activity was similar in the two groups. The total 3‐hydroxy‐3‐methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase activity was increased twofold in the treated patients, whereas the active enzyme remained about the same as in the controls. The low‐density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor binding activity was unaffected by the treatment. Bezafibrate treatment significantly reduces cholesterol 7α‐hydroxylase activity, and it is suggested that this may play an important role for the development of supersaturated bile during such therapy. (HEPATOLOGY 1995; 21:1025–1030.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1030
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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