Serum bilirubin has an important role in multiple clinical applications
Bilirubin is a natural end-product of heme metabolism, and it has been traditionally used as a diagnostic marker in hepatobiliary diseases and its related complications. Recently, accumulating data have demonstrated that serum bilirubin has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive functions in the human body. In this review, we summarized the studies concerning serum bilirubin and its effects on various diseases, as well as its clinical implications. We found that serum bilirubin is closely related to human health. However, the results from available studies are heterogonous, most likely due to the presence of some confounding factors, which interfere the association between bilirubin and human disease have. Therefore, there is immense need of larger, prospective and possibly randomized controlled studies to clearly delineate the role of bilirubin in various disease processes.