Bilirubin Uridine Diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase Polymorphism as a Risk Factor for Prolonged Hyperbilirubinemia in Japanese Preterm Infants

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To determine whether a variant of the bilirubin uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase gene (UGT1A1*6) is a risk factor for prolonged hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants.

Study design

UGT1A1 genotypes in 46 Japanese preterm infants (<37 weeks of gestation) were compared with UGT1A1 genotypes in 38 control infants, using polymerase chain reaction-direct sequencing. Prolonged unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia was defined as serum total bilirubin concentration of >150 μmol/L (8.77 mg/dL) beyond 14 days of life.


In the case group, 41 of 46 infants (89.1%) had a polymorphic variant, c.211G>A, p.G71R (UGT1A1*6). In the control group, 7 of 38 (18.4%) had UGT1A1*6. The allele frequency of UGT1A1*6 was 0.641 in the prolonged hyperbilirubinemia group, which was significantly higher than in the control group (0.092; P < .001). In total, 39 of 46 infants in the case group were breast fed, and only 10 infants in the control group were breast fed.


These data suggest that UGT1A1*6 is a risk factor for prolonged unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants in Japan. Given the different rate of breast feeding in this study, additional data are necessary for drawing a definitive conclusion.

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