The aim of our study was to examine the hypothesis that the cholesterol nucleation time of gallbladder bile might be rapid in women in their fourth and fifth decades, which increases their risk of cholesterol gallstones. Fiftyfour gallbladder bile samples were collected from gallstone-free patients and patients with cholesterol gallstones in a functioning gallbladder. We examined the relations of nucleation time to age and sex in each group. The nucleation time of gallbladder bile tended to be prolonged with age, but there was no correlation between nucleation time and age in each group. Cholesterol nucleation time was not significantly different between agematched females and males in each group, nor was it faster in middle-aged females than in older females. Thus, nucleation time was not rapid in middle-aged females even in the gallstone-free group. These results indicate that cholesterol nucleation time is not significantly influenced by either sex or age, and cannot therefore account for the higher frequency of cholesterol gallstone disease in females in the fourth and fifth decades.
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