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

Studies on nicotinic acid interaction with bilirubin metabolism.

The mechanism by which intravenous administration of nicotinic acid (NA) increases serum unconjugated bilirubin in patients with the Gilbert's syndrome has been investigated. Studies using the technique of percutaneous transhepatic catheterization of the splenic vein and coil planet centrifuge suggested that following intravenous injection of NA some of the circulating erythrocytes were rendered osmotically fragile and trapped by the spleen and that unconjugated bilirubin increased in the splenic vein blood. In patients with liver cirrhosis, the increments of unconjugated bilirubin were closely correlated with the weights of the spleens removed for the management of varices. In rats, intravenous NA injection enhanced heme oxygenase activities in the spleen, but not uridine-5'-diphosphate (UDP)-glucuronyltransferase activity in the liver. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that NA-induced unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia is a result of complex reactions which include increased erythrocyte fragility, increased splenic heme oxygenase activity, and increased formation of bilirubin in the spleen.[1]


  1. Studies on nicotinic acid interaction with bilirubin metabolism. Ohkubo, H., Musha, H., Okuda, K. Dig. Dis. Sci. (1979) [Pubmed]
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