Serum bilirubin and lipoprotein-a: How are these associated with whole blood viscosity?

Ezekiel (Uba) Nwose, Ross Richards, P Bwititi, E Butkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: It has been demonstrated that oxidative stress can induce red blood cell rigidity and haemolysis, which in turn can cause hyperviscosity and hyperbilirubinaemia, respectively. However, haemolysis may be associated with a low level of haemoglobin, which reduces whole blood viscosity (WBV). Bilirubin can behave as antioxidant or oxidant, and one uncharted course for diagnostic pathology is how or whether bilirubinaemia and viscosity are associated. Further, oxidative stress is now being assessed using lipoprotein-a (Lp(a)), among other things but whether it is associated with blood viscosity has not been established.

Aim: This study investigates the association and correlation of haemoglobin level and WBV with serum Lp(a) and bilirubin levels in a general population of patients.

Materials and methods: Sixty-eight cases that were tested for Lp(a), concomitantly with full blood count and liver function, in our archived clinical pathology database were used in this study. WBV levels were determined using a validated formula. Multivariate and univariate analyses as well as correlation were performed.

Results: WBV was found to be significantly associated with bilirubin (P < 0.02), but not with Lp(a). Haemoglobin concentration was inversely correlated with Lp(a) (P < 0.04), but not with bilirubinaemia.

Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that hyperbilirubinaemia and hyperviscosity are associated and positively correlated. Consideration of whether serum bilirubin (as an indirect index of oxidative stress) can be used in combination with WBV (as index of macrovascular effect of oxidative stress) to assess oxidative damage is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalRedox Report
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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