enterohepatic circulation (bile pigments)

Last reviewed 01/2018

Bile pigments take part in a loop that recycles them between gastrointestinal tract, where they are absorbed, and liver, where they are excreted into the biliary tree. 20-30mg of pigment may be reabsorbed each day in the healthy adult. Up to 300mg of bilirubin may be excreted primarily.

Forms of bile pigment capable of being absorbed across gut epithelia include:

  • bilirubin
  • urobilinogen
  • stercobilinogen
  • urobilin