Bilirubin inhibits bile acid induced apoptosis in rat hepatocytes

A. Granato, G. Gores, M. T. Vilei, R. Tolando, C. Ferraresso, M. Muraca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Hydrophobic bile acids contribute to hepatocellular injury in cholestasis and rapidly induce apoptosis in vitro; however, unlike Fas agonists, cholestasis does not cause extensive hepatocyte apoptosis. As antioxidants provide protection against bile acid induced liver injury, our premise was that bilirubin, a free radical scavenger with increased plasma levels in the presence of liver disease, could protect hepatocytes against bile acid induced apoptosis. Methods: Freshly isolated rat hepatocytes were incubated for four hours with 100 μmol/l glycochenodeoxycholate (GCDC) alone or with increasing concentrations of unconjugated (UCB) or conjugated (CB) bilirubin. Results: Both UCB and CB inhibited GCDC induced apoptosis in a dose dependent fashion and suppressed the generation of reactive oxygen species by hepatocytes. Conclusions: The antiapoptotic effect of bilirubin associated with its antioxidant properties indicates that hyperbilirubinaemia may have a protective role in liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1774-1778
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bilirubin inhibits bile acid induced apoptosis in rat hepatocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this