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Family evaluations in acute intermittent porphyria using red cell uroporphyrinogen I synthetase.
  1. J M Lamon,
  2. B C Frykholm,
  3. D P Tschudy


    Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is a primary disorder of haem biosynthesis that is chemically characterised by raised urinary porphobilinogen (PBG). A defect in the biochemical pathway at the step of PBG conversion to uroporphyrinogen has been shown to be a result of a partial deficiency of the enzyme uroporphyrinogen I synthetase (uro I syn). The ascertainment rate of latent AIP (that is, chemically manifest but clinically asymptomatic) was examined in 185 individuals from 12 AIP kindreds using three parameters: red cell uro I syn, quantitative urinary PBG, and pedigree analysis with respect to uro I syn. Approximately 80% of individuals could be assigned as normal or latent AIP on the basis of the uro I syn assay alone. The remaining 20% could not be assigned because of an intermediate range of activity for the red cell assay in which the diagnosis cannot be certain. When the pedigree was used in the evaluation of the uro I syn data, the number of uncertain individuals, with respect to AIP, decreased to 10%. The enzyme method detected latent AIP in 37.5% of blood relatives, whereas quantitative urinary PBG alone detected only 15.2%. The pattern of inheritance for the uro I syn deficiency is consistent with Mendelian dominant inheritance, and it is likely that it is the basic inherited defect in AIP.

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