Bilirubin, a curse and a boon

Ostrow, J. D.; Tiribelli, C.
December 2003
Gut;Dec2003, Vol. 52 Issue 12, p1668
Academic Journal
Both hydrophobic bile salts and unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) induce apoptosis in cultured cells at moderately elevated concentrations and cell necrosis at higher concentrations. Retention of bile salts in cholestasis is believed to cause secondary damage to hepatocytes, and retention of UCB in severe neonatal jaundice is known to cause bilirubin encephalopathy. For both agents, the cytotoxicity results from damage to mitochondrial membranes, with collapse of the transmembrane potential and generation of a mitochondrial membrane permeability transition and ursodeoxycholic acid or its amidates can prevent apoptosis by inhibiting this process.


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