UGT1A1 genetic analysis as a diagnostic aid for individuals with unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia

J Pediatr. 2013 Jun;162(6):1146-52, 1152.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.11.042. Epub 2013 Jan 4.


Objective: To assess the clinical utility of UGT1A1 genetic testing and describe the spectrum and prevalence of UGT1A1 variations identified in pediatric unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia (UCH), and to characterize specific genotype-phenotype relationships in suspected Gilbert and Crigler-Najjar syndromes.

Study design: A retrospective study was conducted to review clinical information and UGT1A1 genotyping data from 181 pediatric patients referred for UCH. In silico analyses were performed to aid in the assessment of novel UGT1A1 variants.

Results: Overall, 146/181 pediatric patients had at least one heterozygous UGT1A1 functional variant. Identified UGT1A1 variants included 17 novel variants, 7 rare star alleles, and 1 rare variant. There were 129 individuals who possessed the TA7 (*28) promoter repeat and 15 individuals who possessed the *6 (c.211G > A) variation. Out of the 104 individuals with accompanying bilirubin levels, 41 individuals did not have identifiable UGT1A1 variants that explained their UCH, although glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and other causes of UCH could not be ruled out.

Conclusion: Much of the observed UCH could be attributed to variation at the UGT1A1 locus, and UGT1A1 testing helped to substantiate a genetic diagnosis, thereby aiding in individual and family disease management. Although UGT1A1 variation plays a large role in UCH, genetic assessment of UGT1A1 alone may not be comprehensive. Assessment of additional genes may also be useful to evaluate genetic causes for UCH.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bilirubin / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crigler-Najjar Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / diagnosis
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / genetics*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Retrospective Studies


  • UGT1A1 enzyme
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Bilirubin