125 Scopus citations


Bilirubin is a component of the heme catabolic pathway that is essential for liver function and has been shown to reduce hepatic fat accumulation. High plasma bilirubin levels are reflective of liver disease due to an injurious effect on hepatocytes. In healthy liver, bilirubin is conjugated and excreted to the intestine and converted by microbes to urobilinoids, which are reduced to the predominant pigment in feces, stercobilin, or reabsorbed. The function of urobilinoids in the gut or their physiological relevance of reabsorption is not well understood. In this review, we discuss the relationship of hepatic bilirubin signaling to the intestinal microbiota and its regulation of the liver–gut axis, as well as its capacity to mediate these processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • bile pigment
  • biliverdin reductase
  • fatty liver disease
  • gut microbiota
  • urobilinoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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