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Stercobilinogen

Stercobilinogen

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Stercobilinogen is a chemical created by bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 in the gut
Gut (zoology)
In zoology, the gut, also known as the alimentary canal or alimentary tract, is a tube by which bilaterian animals transfer food to the digestion organs. In large bilaterians the gut generally also has an exit, the anus, by which the animal disposes of solid wastes...

. It is made of broken-down hemoglobin
Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

. It is further processed to become the chemical that gives feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

 its brown color.

Bilirubin
Bilirubin
Bilirubin is the yellow breakdown product of normal heme catabolism. Heme is found in hemoglobin, a principal component of red blood cells. Bilirubin is excreted in bile and urine, and elevated levels may indicate certain diseases...

 is a pigment that results from the breakdown of the heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 portion of hemoglobin. The liver conjugates bilirubin, making it water-soluble; and the conjugated form is then excreted in urine as urobilinogen
Urobilinogen
Urobilinogen is a colourless product of bilirubin reduction. It is formed in the intestines by bacterial action. Some urobilinogen is reabsorbed, taken up into the circulation and excreted by the kidney. This constitutes the normal "enterohepatic urobilinogen cycle".Increased amounts of bilirubin...

, giving urine its color. In the intestine, bilirubin is converted by bacteria to stercobilinogen. Stercobilinogen is absorbed and excreted by either the liver or the kidney. Stercobilinogen is oxidized to stercobilin
Stercobilin
Stercobilin is a tetrapyrrolic bile pigment and is one end-product of heme catabolism. It is the chemical responsible for the brown color of human fecal material and was originally isolated from feces in 1932...

, which is responsible for the pigmentation of feces.

In early liver disease, impaired biliary excretion causes sterocobilinogen to be absorbed mostly by the kidney, and, therefore, stercobilinogen will appear in the urine in excess as urobilinogen
Urobilinogen
Urobilinogen is a colourless product of bilirubin reduction. It is formed in the intestines by bacterial action. Some urobilinogen is reabsorbed, taken up into the circulation and excreted by the kidney. This constitutes the normal "enterohepatic urobilinogen cycle".Increased amounts of bilirubin...

. This is a marker of early liver disease.