GC: n

S: RnCeus – (last access: 9 June 2016); NIH – (last access: 9 June 2016).

N: 1. “reddish pigment found in bile,” 1871, from German bilirubin (1864), from bili- (see bile) + Latin ruber “red” (see red) + -ine .
2. A reddish-yellow, crystalline, water-insoluble pigment C33H36N4O6 that is formed by the breakdown of heme, is excreted in a water-soluble conjugated form by liver cells into bile, and occurs in blood and urine especially in diseased states (such as cirrhosis, gallstones, and hemolytic anemia) <… they may become jaundiced, their skin tinged yellow by the release of the pigment bilirubin from their damaged liver.—Larry Thompson, Discover, March 1994>.
3. Bilirubin, a brownish yellow pigment of bile, secreted by the liver in vertebrates, which gives to solid waste products (feces) their characteristic colour. It is produced in bone marrow cells and in the liver as the end product of red-blood-cell (hemoglobin) breakdown. The amount of bilirubin manufactured relates directly to the quantity of blood cells destroyed. About 0.5 to 2 grams are produced daily. It has no known function and can be toxic to the fetal brain.
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the novel The Silence of the Lambs (1968) by Thomas Harris, also adapted to film by Jonathan Demme. In the film, Lecter tells Senator Martin that Buffalo Bill’s real name is “Louis Friend”, an anagram of iron sulfide, or fool’s gold. In the novel, he gives the name “Billy Rubin”. This is a play on bilirubin, a pigment found in feces and the color of Dr. Chilton’s hair.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 9 June 2016). 2. MW – (last access: 9 June 2016). 3. EncBrit – (last access: 9 June 2016). 4. GR – (last access: 9 June 2016); IMDb – (last access: 9 June 2016).


CR: hepatitis, jaundice, urobilinogen.