Bile pigments, such as bilirubin and biliverdin, are end products of the heme degradation pathway in mammals and are widely known for their cytotoxic effects. However, recent studies have revealed that they exert cytoprotective effects through antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and immunosuppressive properties. All these mechanisms are indispensable in the treatment of diseases in the field of emergency and critical care medicine, such as coronary ischemia, stroke, encephalomyelitis, acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome, mesenteric ischemia, and sepsis. While further research is required before the safe application of bile pigments in the clinical setting, their underlying mechanisms shed light on their utilization as therapeutic agents in the field of emergency and critical care medicine. This article aims to summarize the current understanding of bile pigments and re-evaluate their therapeutic potential in the diseases listed above.
- Antioxidant therapy
- Bile pigments
- Emergency and critical care medicine
ASJC Scopus subject areas