The work of Schmid,1 Billing, Cole, and Lathe,2 and Talafant3 demonstrated that bilirubin has to be conjugated with glucuronic acid before excretion in the bile is possible. It appears that the ability of the liver to form glucuronides is not completely developed in the newborn infant, and this seems to lead to the accumulation of bilirubin in the serum after birth (Vest,4a Shirley and Hsia5). On the other hand, an increased destruction of red cells immediately after birth, which for a long time was incriminated as a cause of icterus neonatorum, was not borne out by more recent investigations (Findlay, Higgins and Stanier,6 Fashena,7 Vest4b).
In a previous investigation8 we demonstrated that acetanilid, a substance of which approximately 80% is excreted in the urine of adults in a conjugated form, appears only slowly in the urine of the newborn and within
VEST MF, STREIFF RR. Studies on Glucuronide Formation in Newborn Infants and Older ChildrenMeasurement of p-Aminophenol Glucuronide Levels in the Serum After an Oral Dose of Acetanilid. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;98(6):688-693. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070020690003