In vitro displacement of bilirubin by antibiotics and 2-hydroxybenzoylglycine in newborns

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1988 Oct;32(10):1571-5. doi: 10.1128/AAC.32.10.1571.


Hyperbilirubinemia is frequently observed in neonates, and serious neurological complications such as kernicterus can be precipitated when the concentration of unconjugated bilirubin is abnormally increased. The administration of drugs which bind to albumin and compete with bilirubin can increase the possibility of such a complication. To test the bilirubin-displacing activity of pharmacological agents that are used with newborns, 52 antimicrobial agents were investigated in vitro. A glycine conjugate of salicylate, 2-hydroxybenzoylglycine, which is known to be present at elevated levels in newborns and has a potent bilirubin-displacing property, was used as a positive control agent. Pooled cord serum was used as a source of hyperbilirubinemic serum. A centrifugal ultrafiltration method with semipermeable cones was employed to determine the effects of potential bilirubin-displacing agents on the levels of total bilirubin. 2-Hydroxybenzoylglycine was demonstrated to be the most potent bilirubin-displacing agent. Antibiotics could be classified into four groups: high-level displacers (sulfisoxazole, sulfamethoxazole, dicloxacillin, cefoperazone, and ceftriaxone), intermediate-level displacers (moxalactam, nafcillin, and 14 others), low-level displacers (aztreonam, carbenicillin, and 11 others), and nondisplacers (mezlocillin, cefuroxime, kanamycin, and 15 others). It is concluded that the ultrafiltration method is a rapid and readily reproducible for the determination of bilirubin displacement and that antibiotics with a tendency to displace bilirubin should be avoided in jaundiced newborns whenever appropriate alternatives are available.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / blood*
  • Bilirubin / blood*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / blood
  • Protein Binding


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bilirubin