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

Deconjugation of bilirubin-IX alpha glucuronides: a physiologic role of hepatic microsomal beta-glucuronidase.

beta-Glucuronidase is an acid hydrolase located in both the lysosomal and microsomal compartments of the hepatocyte. The function of the latter remains undefined. We postulated that microsomal beta-glucuronidase may be responsible for the deconjugation of bilirubin-IX alpha glucuronides which are synthesized primarily in the hepatic microsomal compartment. We utilized two unique congenic strains of mice to characterize the role of hepatic beta-glucuronidase in the metabolism and disposition of bilirubin-IX alpha; the first exhibited less than 1% of total hepatic beta-glucuronidase activity (ATM), the second lacked only the microsomal enzyme activity (AT1). The biliary excretion of bilirubin-IX alpha conjugates was quantitated using reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Under basal conditions, there was a 2-fold increase in the biliary excretion of bilirubin-IX alpha monoglucuronides and total glucuronides in the AT1 and ATM mutants compared to the normal controls. When the plasma bilirubin-IX alpha level was increased to approximately 7 mg/dl to simulate hyperbilirubinemia, by intravenous administration of [14C]bilirubin-IX alpha, mathematical modeling of the biliary excretion curves of bilirubin-IX alpha glucuronides revealed qualitative differences between control and mutant animals, whereas both mutant groups were similar. Collectively, these data demonstrate that microsomal beta-glucuronidase modulates the net rate of bilirubin-IX alpha glucuronidation and glucuronide excretion in bile, under both basal and hyperbilirubinemic conditions, and that lysosomal beta-glucuronidase has no such effects. Hepatic microsomal beta-glucuronidase appears likely to influence the biliary excretion and hence the hepatic elimination of endogenous and xenobiotic substrates (e.g. carcinogens) which undergo hepatic glucuronidation.[1]


  1. Deconjugation of bilirubin-IX alpha glucuronides: a physiologic role of hepatic microsomal beta-glucuronidase. Whiting, J.F., Narciso, J.P., Chapman, V., Ransil, B.J., Swank, R.T., Gollan, J.L. J. Biol. Chem. (1993) [Pubmed]
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