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Sci Rep. 2013 Oct 9;3:2903. doi: 10.1038/srep02903.

Impact of fatty acids on human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 activity and its expression in neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

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School of Pharmacy, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, JAPAN.


While breast milk has been known as a cause of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, the underlying mechanism of breast milk-induced jaundice has not been clarified. Here, the impact of fatty acids on human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A1--the sole enzyme that can metabolize bilirubin--were examined. Oleic acid, linoleic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) strongly inhibited UGT1A1 activity. Forty-eight hours after a treatment with a lower concentration of DHA (10 mg/kg), total bilirubin significantly increased in neonatal hUGT1 mice, which are human neonatal jaundice models. In contrast, treatments with higher concentrations of fatty acids (0.1-10 g/kg) resulted in a decrease in serum bilirubin in hUGT1 mice. It was further demonstrated that the treatment with higher concentrations of fatty acids induced UGT1A1, possibly by activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. Our data indicates that activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors would increase UGT1A1 expression, resulting in reduction of serum bilirubin levels in human infants.

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