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What causes porphyria?

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Each type of porphyria has the same root cause -- a problem with making heme. Heme is a part of hemoglobin. That's a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Heme has iron and gives blood its red color. Heme is made in the liver and bone marrow, and the process involves many different enzymes. Not enough of any of these enzymes can cause buildup of certain chemical compounds needed to make heme. The missing enzyme determines the type of porphyria.

Most types of porphyria are inherited.

From: Porphyria WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: "Learning about Porphyria."

NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network: "Porphyria Overview," "Treatment and Prevention," "Acute Intermittent Porphyria," "Frequently Asked Questions"

American Porphyria Foundation: "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda," "Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria (CEP)," "Variegate Porphyria (VP)," "Hepatoerythropoietic Porphyria (HEP)," "ALAD-Deficiency Porphyria (ADP)," "About Porphyria."

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center: "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 16, 2017

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: "Learning about Porphyria."

NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network: "Porphyria Overview," "Treatment and Prevention," "Acute Intermittent Porphyria," "Frequently Asked Questions"

American Porphyria Foundation: "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda," "Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria (CEP)," "Variegate Porphyria (VP)," "Hepatoerythropoietic Porphyria (HEP)," "ALAD-Deficiency Porphyria (ADP)," "About Porphyria."

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center: "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 16, 2017

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What causes porphyria cutanea tarda?

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