The pathogenesis of acute cholecystitis (AC) is controversial. Bile acids may be involved in the pathogenesis of AC because the hydrophobic chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) reproduced in vitro the muscle dysfunction observed in AC and was prevented by the hydrophilic ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). The present study examined the in vivo effects of UDCA or CDCA on gallbladder muscle dysfunction caused by AC. Guinea pigs were treated with placebo, UDCA, or CDCA for 2 weeks before sham operation or induction of AC by bile duct ligation (BDL) for 3 days. Pretreatment with oral UDCA prevented the defective contraction in response to agonists (acetylcholine [ACh], cholecystokinin 8 [CCK-8], and KCl) that occurs after BDL. Prostaglandin (PG) E2-induced contraction remained normal in the placebo and UDCA-treated groups but was impaired in the CDCA-treated group. Treatment with UDCA also prevented the expected increase in the levels of H2O2, lipid peroxidation, and PGE2 content in the placebo-treated AC group, whereas CDCA caused further increases in these oxidative stress markers. The binding capacity of PGE2 to its receptors and the activity of catalase were reduced after treatment with CDCA. Treatment with UDCA enriched gallbladder bile acids with its conjugates and reduced the percentage of CDCA conjugates. In contrast, treatment with CDCA significantly decreased the percentage of UDCA in bile. In conclusion, oral treatment with UDCA prevents gallbladder muscle damage caused by BDL, whereas oral treatment with CDCA worsens the defective muscle contractility and the oxidative stress.