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Bilirubin is made in the Spleen and the Liver from the remenants of heme groups from old or damaged Erythrocytes. It is transported to the Liver by plasma albumin and here it is broken down, metabolisised and incorporated into Bile. Bilirubin is responsible for giving the bile its distinctive yellow-brown colour. However whereas the bile is secreted into the digestive tract the bilirubin is excreted from the body within the faeces. As well as this small amonts of the bilirubin are filtered into the Kidneys from the blood where they are excreted in the Urine. Bilirubin is responsible for the yellow colour of urine.

In rare cases bilirubin can accumulate in the body resulting in jaundice (results in the yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes). This can be caused by liver disease as the liver cannot break down or excrete the bilirubin.[1]


  1. Unglaub,D. (2014) Human Physiology, An Integrated Approach. Sixth Edition. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited
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