Haem derivatives in the cerebrospinal fluid after intracranial haemorrhage

Eur Neurol. 1987;26(4):216-21. doi: 10.1159/000116339.


During the first 5 days after an intracranial haemorrhage, the red blood cells slowly haemolyse. Most of the oxyhaemoglobin, released in the cerebrospinal fluid, is transformed into bilirubin by an enzyme-dependent process. After 5 days, the haemolysis increases without a corresponding enhancement in the formation of bilirubin. Consequently, the oxyhaemoglobin concentration also increases. A spontaneous oxidation of the haem group follows and after about 10 days the proportions of oxy- and methaemoglobin are about the same. This process occurs independently of the cause of the haemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / analysis
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Heme / metabolism*
  • Hemolysis
  • Humans
  • Methemoglobin / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Oxyhemoglobins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Time Factors


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • Heme
  • Methemoglobin
  • Bilirubin