Porphyrins Urine Test, Quantitative, 24-Hour
Porphyrins are a group of compounds that are defined by their chemical structure. They are an integral part of certain proteins found in the body such as myoglobin, hemoglobin, and specific enzymes. Porphyrin tests are assays used to help diagnose and monitor a group of disorders called porphyrias. Most porphyrin tests measure and detect the by-products of heme synthesis. Heme, which is an iron-containing pigment, is a part of hemoglobin and a number of other proteins. The synthesis of heme is a step-by-step process that requires the sequential action of 8 different enzymes. If there is a deficiency in one of these enzymes, a bottleneck then forms and precursors (porphyrins such as uroporphyrins, coproporhyrins, and protoporhyrins) build up in the body's fluids and tissues and are excreted in urine and feces. The precursors that build up will depend on where the bottleneck (or enzyme deficiency) is located.
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