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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 1987; 84(16): 5918–5922.
PMCID: PMC298974

Antioxidant activity of albumin-bound bilirubin.


Bilirubin, when bound to human albumin and at concentrations present in normal human plasma, protects albumin-bound linoleic acid from peroxyl radical-induced oxidation in vitro. Initially, albumin-bound bilirubin (Alb-BR) is oxidized at the same rate as peroxyl radicals are formed and biliverdin is produced stoichiometrically as the oxidation product. On an equimolar basis, Alb-BR successfully competes with uric acid for peroxyl radicals but is less efficient in scavenging these radicals than vitamin C. These results show that 1 mol of Alb-BR can scavenge 2 mol of peroxyl radicals and that small amounts of plasma bilirubin are sufficient to prevent oxidation of albumin-bound fatty acids as well as of the protein itself. The data indicate a role for Alb-BR as a physiological antioxidant in plasma and the extravascular space.

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