The increasing prevalence of cholesterol gallstone disease places an economic burden on the healthcare system. To identify novel therapeutics, we assessed the effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in combination with UDCA in a mouse model of cholesterol gallstones. Gallstone dissolution, gallbladder wall thickness, mucin gene expression in the gallbladder, and levels of phospholipids, cholesterol, and bile acids in bile and serum were analysed. RNA was extracted from the liver for mRNA sequencing and gene expression profiling. Combination treatment resulted in greater gallstone dissolution compared with the control group, and PUFA and combination treatments reduced the thickness of the gallbladder wall. Expression levels of mucin genes were significantly lower in the UDCA, PUFA, and combination groups. Transcriptome analyses revealed that combination treatment modulated hepatic lipid metabolism. The PUFA and combination groups showed elevated bile phospholipid and bile acid levels and a lower cholesterol saturation index. Combination treatment with PUFA and UDCA dissolves cholesterol gallstones in mice by decreasing mucin production, increasing levels of phospholipids and bile acids in bile, and decreasing cholesterol saturation. Further studies of the therapeutic effects of combination PUFA and UDCA treatment in patients with cholesterol gallstones are warranted.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by the National Research Foundation, Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea (NRF-2017R1A2B2011840, 2018R1C1B5045210 and 2018R1A2B6003447) and a faculty research grant from the Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2007-0115).
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