Kernicterus pp 19-31 | Cite as

Biochemistry and Physiology of Bilirubin

  • David W. McCandless
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


Early work on the biochemistry of bilirubin was conducted by Nobel Laureate Hans Fischer. Hemoglobin is an important constituent of the pyrrole group of molecules, and Fisher studied hemoglobin. Hemoglobin breaks into heme and globin in its first degradation step. The combination of heme and globin possesses the unique ability to loosely bind oxygen, enabling it to be released to body tissues. Heme bound to iron is termed hemin, which has the chemical formula: C34 H32 O4 N4 FeCl. When iron is removed from hemi, porphyrins are the result.


Glucuronic Acid Pyrrole Ring Unconjugated Bilirubin Glucuronyl Transferase Conjugate Bilirubin 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology & AnatomyRosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, Chicago Medical SchoolNorth ChicagoUSA

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