Inherited disorders of bilirubin transport and conjugation: new insights into molecular mechanisms and consequences

Serge Erlinger, Irwin M Arias, Daniel Dhumeaux
Gastroenterology 2014, 146 (7): 1625-38
Inherited disorders of bilirubin metabolism might reduce bilirubin uptake by hepatocytes, bilirubin conjugation, or secretion of bilirubin into bile. Reductions in uptake could increase levels of unconjugated or conjugated bilirubin (Rotor syndrome). Defects in bilirubin conjugation could increase levels of unconjugated bilirubin; the effects can be benign and frequent (Gilbert syndrome) or rare but severe, increasing the risk of bilirubin encephalopathy (Crigler-Najjar syndrome). Impairment of bilirubin secretion leads to accumulation of conjugated bilirubin (Dubin-Johnson syndrome). We review the genetic causes and pathophysiology of disorders of bilirubin transport and conjugation as well as clinical and therapeutic aspects. We also discuss the possible mechanisms by which hyperbilirubinemia protects against cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome and the effects of specific genetic variants on drug metabolism and cancer development.

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