Sömjen, G.J., Coleman, R., Koch, M.H.J., Wachtel, E., Billington, D., Towns-Andrews, Elizabeth and Gilat, T. (1991) The induction of lamellar stacking by cholesterol in lecithin-bile salt model systems and human bile studied by synchrotron X-radiation. FEBS Letters, 289 (2). pp. 163-166. ISSN 0014-5793

Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) with synchroton radiation was used to investigate interactions among lipid particles in lecithin-bile salt model systems and in native gallbladder biles. In model systems in the absence of cholesterol. isotropic, continuous spectra were found, indicating the absence of periodic structures. In the presence of excess cholesterol, interaction in the form of lamellar stacking was detected by the appearance of discrete diffraction peaks. In the supersaturated cholesterol region of the commonly accepted phase diagram [1]. where cholesterol crystals were expected. we found lamellar stacking. The high proportion of cholesterol to bile salts seems to be the common denominator of these models. The lamellar stacking was also found in native unprocessed bile. This effect of cholesterol on lipid structure has not been previously described. Lamellar stacking may contribute to cholesterol solubilization. Its influence on the kinetics of cholesterol crystallization is presently unknown.

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