PMID: 793184Aug 13, 1976Paper

Bilirubin metabolism (author's transl)

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift
H SeyfriedE Penner


The degradation of haemoglobin haeme of senescent red blood cells - involving NADPH-dependent haeme oxygenase and biliverdin reductase - in the reticuloendothelial cells of the spleen, bone marrow and liver accounts for 80 to 90% of the 250 to 300 mg of bilirubin formed in 24 hours. The remaining 10 to 20% derive from catabolism of other haemoproteins and from the destruction of maturing red blood cells in the marrow. In studies with isotopically-labelled metabolic precursors of haeme this fraction can be found in the early-labelled peak. In plasma virtually all the bilirubin is tightly bound to plasma proteins, largely albumin, because it is only sparingly soluble in aqueous solutions at physiological pH. In the sinusoids unconjugated bilirubin dissocates from albumin, enters the liver cells across the cell membrane through non-ionic diffusion and is bound by the two cytoplasmic proteins Y (or ligandin) and Z. Little is known about the transfer of unconjugated bilirubin from these binding proteins to the smooth endoplasmatic reticulum, where it is converted to a water-soluble ester glucuronide by bilirubin UDP-glucuronyl transferase. The physiological significance of non-glucoronide conjugates (sulphate, disaccharides) is only...Continue Reading

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