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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ultrastructure of cholesterol gallstones as observed by electron microscopy after freeze-fracturing.

The ultrastructure of cholesterol gallstones (mixed type) was studied in detail for the first time under the transmission electron microscope after freeze-fracturing. Gallstones consisted essentially of cholesterol crystals, some impurities, and fluid. In accord with the theoretical 3.4 nm bilayered structure of cholesterol crystals, 3-4 nm periodicity of crystal layering was observed. However, gallstone cholesterol crystals were not perfect and often showed structural defects. Between crystals, complete edge-to-surface, edge-to-edge and surface-to-surface adhesions, and overall block-like aggregations were found. These may represent the structural basis for the stability of cholesterol crystal aggregation. The easy breakdown of cholesterol gallstones by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is discussed in relation to their ultrastructure.[1]


  1. Ultrastructure of cholesterol gallstones as observed by electron microscopy after freeze-fracturing. Abe, A., Tsuchiya, Y., Sugiura, N., Saisho, H., Nishimura, K., Takeo, K. Tissue & cell. (1997) [Pubmed]
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