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Pharmazie. 2015 Apr;70(4):225-30.

Bilirubin degradation in methanol induced by continuous UV-B irradiation: a UHPLC--ESI-MS study.


Degradation of bilirubin in aerobic methanol solution by continuous UV-B irradiation has been investigated in this work. The purpose of this study was to shed more light on bilirubin interaction with the UV-B component of natural sunlight, since bilirubin is a very efficient UV-B absorber located in the skin epidermis. The degradation products have been detected and studied by a combined method of Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-ESI-MS). Bilirubin, a toxic pigment which itself is a product of (hemoglobin) degradation in organisms, undergoes its own degradation under aerobic conditions of UV-B continuous irradiation (e.g. photooxidation) that can be partly self-sensitized. Two dipyrrolic structures have been identified as a result of the bilirubin degradation, not including the bilirubin derivative biliverdin whose increase in the irradiated system is synchronous with a time dynamics of bilirubin degradation. It appears that one of dipyrrolic products originates directly from bilirubin and biliverdin molecules, while the other one is probably connected to bilirubin self-sensitized degradation. The precursor role of biliverdin in the degradation process--related to the detected dipyrroles--has not been confirmed.

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