Porphyria cutanea tarda: the etiological importance of mutations in the HFE gene and viral infection is population-dependent.Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2002 Dec; 48(8):853-9.CM
A number of factors, including increased iron stores and alcohol consumption, are known to be associated with the development of porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) in susceptible individuals. Recent reports have described a significant association between inheritance of the C282Y and H63D mutations in the HFE gene, associated with genetic hemochromatosis (GH) and PCT. A strong association between hepatitis C virus infection and PCT has also been demonstrated, while case reports record a link between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and PCT. We have investigated the frequency of these factors in a racially-mixed population of patients with PCT in Cape Town, South Africa. 57 patients with PCT drawn from three ethnic groups were screened for the presence of the C282Y and H63D mutations linked to GH, and the prevalences were compared with corresponding healthy control populations. The seroprevalence of markers for HCV, hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV infection were examined in 28 of these. In the control populations, we found that both the C282Y and H63D mutations are highly prevalent in South Africans of European origin. In a population of mixed or Asian origin, the C282Y mutation is very rare whereas the H63D mutation is common. Neither mutation was encountered in any African subject. Both mutations are associated with PCT, but the association is dependent on the ethnic origins of the population to which the patient belongs. In contrast to other studies, HCV infection is numerically unimportant in PCT in our patients. HIV infection is increasingly encountered in our patients with PCT, but the strength of the association cannot be determined in view of the high background prevalence of HIV infection in some sectors of the South African population. The contribution of specific risk factors may be heavily dependent on the population from which patients are drawn, and care should be taken in extrapolating from observations in one racial or geographic population to any other.