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Serum bilirubin is associated with lung function in a Swiss general population sample.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Curjuric Ivan, Imboden Medea, Adam Martin, Bettschart Robert W, Gerbase Margaret W, Künzli Nino, Rochat Thierry, Rohrer Lucia, Rothe Thomas B, Schwartz Joel, Stolz Daiana, Tschopp Jean-Marie, von Eckardstein Arnold, Kronenberg Florian, Probst-Hensch Nicole M,
Project Preventing viral exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in upper respiratory tract infection - The PREVENT study
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal The European respiratory journal
Page(s) epub
Title of proceedings The European respiratory journal
DOI 10.1183/09031936.00055813


Bilirubin is a strong antioxidant. Increased serum levels were associated with respiratory disease and mortality risk. We studied the association of bilirubin with lung function in the SAPALDIA cohort.Associations between natural logarithmized bilirubin and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1/FVC, and mean forced expiratory flow between 25%-75% of FVC (FEF25-75) were tested using multiple linear regression in the whole study population (n=4195) and strata of ever smoking and high body mass index (BMI, defined by the highest distribution quartile). Associations were retested with single nucleotide polymorphism rs6742078, a genetic determinant of bilirubin.High bilirubin levels were significantly associated with higher FEV1/FVC and FEF25-75 overall. Upon stratification, significant associations persisted in ever smokers, amounting to 1.1 percent (95%-confidence interval 0.1 to 2.2) increase in FEV1/FVC, and 116.2 mL·sec(-1) (-15.9 to 248.4) in FEF25-75 per interquartile range of bilirubin exposure in smokers with high BMI. Associations were positive but non -significant in never smokers with high BMI. Similarly, rs6742078 genotype TT was associated with increased FEV1/FVC and FEF25-75.Our results suggest a possible protective role of bilirubin on lung tissue, which could be important for prevention and therapy.