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Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2002 Feb;48(1):83-9.

Ferrochelatase gene mutations in erythropoietic protoporphyria: focus on liver disease.

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Liver Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


A deficiency of ferrochelatase (FECH) activity underlies the excess accumulation of protoporphyrin that occurs in erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). In some patients, protoporphyrin accumulation causes liver damage that necessitates liver transplantation. The purpose of this study was to determine if specific mutations in the FECH gene are present in patients who develop liver disease. FECH cDNA and all 11 exons and their flanking intron regions in the FECH gene were amplified and sequenced by specific polymerase chain reactions. Gene mutations were determined in 34 individuals from 24 families: 14 had liver disease, 10 necessitating liver transplantation. All individuals were heterozygous for mutations that altered the coding region of FECH mRNA. The mutations in patients with liver disease were heterogenous, but usually caused a major structural alterations in the FECH protein, most commonly as a result of exon skipping in FECH mRNA. However, the mutations could not account for the severe phenotype by themselves, since the same mutations were found in asymptomatic family members of patients with liver disease and in patients from families in which liver disease was not present. Other genetic factors, and possibly acquired factors, also must be critical to the development of this severe phenotype in EPP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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