Effect of aging on gallbladder contraction and release of cholecystokinin-33 in humans

T. Khalil, J. P. Walker, I. Wiener, C. J. Fagan, C. M. Townsend, George H Greeley, J. C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of aging on gallbladder contraction and cholecystokinin (CCK) release, as well as on the correlation between the two in humans who are free of gallbladder disease. Twenty-nine human volunteers were divided into a young group of 14 individuals (ages 22 to 42 years, median age 32 years) and an older group of 15 individuals (ages 60 to 84 years, median age 66 years). In the study each person in both groups was given corn oil (Lipomul), 1.5 ml/kg, by mouth after an overnight fast. Blood was collected for measurement of CCK-33 by radioimmunoassay before and at intervals after ingestion of Lipomul. Simultaneous measurements of gallbladder volume were obtained by real-time varian ultrasonography. Both fasting and fat-stimulated concentrations of CCK in plasma were significantly higher in the older individuals than in the younger volunteers. The 60-minute integrated measurement of CCK release was significantly increased in the older people as compared with the young. Both fasting and maximally contracted gallbladder volumes were equal in the older and younger groups. The rate of emptying of the gallbladder was equal in both age groups, but the gallbladders of older people appeared to show an earlier initiation of contraction. The highly significant correlation of gallbladder contraction with levels of CCK was similar in both age groups, but the sensitivity of the gallbladder to CCK in the older people was significantly decreased. In conclusion, both fasting and fat-stimulated plasma levels of CCK increase with aging. The sensitivity of the gallbladder muscle to stimulation by CCK is diminished with age, but this appears, teleologically, to be matched by the increased release of CCK, so the kinetics of gallbladder emptying are little different in the aged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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