Role of human skin in the photodecomposition of bilirubin

Kapoor, Chiranjiv L. ; Krishna Murti, Coimbatore R. (1974) Role of human skin in the photodecomposition of bilirubin Biochemical Journal, 142 . pp. 567-573. ISSN 0264-6021

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1. Human skin epithelium and human skin were found to absorb both free bilirubin and serum-bound bilirubin from an aqueous buffered medium. The serum-bound bilirubin thus absorbed was readily released when human skin epithelium or human skin were transferred to media containing no bilirubin. 2. The Km values for serum-bound bilirubin were 1.8×10-3m and 2.2×10-3m respectively for human skin epithelium and human skin; corresponding Km values for free bilirubin were 3.0×10-4m and 5×10-4m. The Vmax. for bound and free bilirubin was of the same magnitude, the apparent Vmax. being 1.0 and 1.66mmol/g of tissue for human skin epithelium and human skin respectively. 3. When human skin that had acquired a yellow tinge by absorbing bilirubin was incubated in a buffered medium and exposed to a mercury-vapour light, the yellow colour disappeared and decomposition products of bilirubin accumulated in the medium. 4. Experiments with [3H]bilirubin indicated that the pigment absorbed by skin was photo-oxidized to products that were soluble in water and the quantity and number of such products increased with the time of exposure of human skin to the light-source. Under similar conditions [3H]bilirubin alone in buffered medium was also oxidized and gave products which by paper chromatography appeared to be different from those released by human skin that had absorbed bilirubin. 5. The results suggest that by virtue of its large surface area human skin can act as a matrix for the degradative action of light on bilirubin.

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