The effect of calcium on gallbladder absorption

David E. Scheeres, Thomas H. Magnuson, Henry A. Pitt, J. Augusto Bastidas, Christopher A. May, Keith D. Lillemoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The absorption of water and electrolytes is an important physiologic function of the gallbladder which is altered during gallstone formation. Extracellular calcium and calcium channel antagonists are known to affect intestinal absorption, yet their effect on gallbladder absorption is less well defined. We, therefore, tested the hypothesis that changes in extracellular calcium or in calcium channels would alter gallbladder absorption. New Zealand white rabbit gallbladders were removed, filled with a modified Krebs buffer (Ca2+ = 0.7 mM), and suspended in an oxygenated bath of the same buffer. Water absorption was determined gravimetrically by obtaining serial gallbladder weights at 10-min intervals. After a 40-min control period, the serosal bathing solution was changed to one of four experimental solutions (n = 6 for each group): Ca2+ = 0.25, 0.7, or 1.2 mM or Ca2+ = 0.7 mM plus 0.1 mM verapamil. Absorption was determined during an 80-min experimental period with results expressed as the percentage change in gallbladder absorption compared to that of the control period. The 0.25, 0.7, and 1.2 mM Ca2+ groups did not show a significant change in absorption rate from their respective control rates. However, the verapamil group did demonstrate a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in absorption rate of -69 ± 8% by the end of the experimental period. These data demonstrate that verapamil inhibits gallbladder absorption while changes in serosal calcium concentration have no effect. We conclude that calcium channels and intracellular calcium may play an important role in modulating gallbladder absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-551
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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