Decreased hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity in porphyria cutanea tarda.N Engl J Med. 1982 Apr 01; 306(13):766-9.NEJM
To test whether reduced hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity is a specific and intrinsic defect in porphyria cutanea tarda, we measured enzymatic activity in the livers of 17 patients with porphyria cutanea tarda, 12 "normal" control patients without liver disease, and 41 patients with other forms of porphyria, alcoholic liver disease, hemochromatosis, or chronic hepatitis. Enzyme activity in all the patients with porphyria cutanea tarda was lower than in the patients without this disease, except for one patient with alcohol-induced fatty liver. Reduction of hepatic iron stores by phlebotomy did not alter the enzymatic activity in porphyria cutanea tarda. We conclude that reduced hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity is a specific and intrinsic hepatic defect in porphyria cutanea tarda, but modulation of uroporphyrinogen synthesis by extrinsic factors is required for the full biochemical expression of the disease.