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Indian J Exp Biol. 2000 Jul;38(7):635-42.

Haem biosynthesis and human porphyria cutanea tarda: effects of alcohol intake.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California-Davis Medical Center, PSSB Building, 4150 V Street, Room 3500, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


The review describes the structural and biochemical properties of the haem biosynthetic enzyme, uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD), which sequentially catalyzes the removal of the four carboxyl groups from the acetate side chains of octacarboxylic uroporphyrinogen to form coproporphyrinogen, and the possible biochemical mechanism of the genesis of porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). The disease is caused when the activity of UROD is significantly reduced. PCT is a multifactorial disease where both inherent and environmental factors such as alcohol, estrogens, halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons and viral infection (mainly hepatitis C) are involved in biochemical and clinical expression. In PCT, hepatic iron plays a key role. Alcohol intake could induce mobilization of iron from protein-bound ferritin. PCT should be managed by avoidance of these toxins and removal of iron by vigorous phlebotomy. Such iron-reduction therapy would provide additional benefit for hepatitis C patients by interferon therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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