Abstract

Porphyrias are rare genetic metabolic disorders, which result from deficiencies of enzymes in the heme biosynthesis pathway. Depending on the enzyme defect, different types of porphyrins and heme precursors accumulate for the different porphyria diseases in erythrocytes, liver, blood plasma, urine and stool. Patients with acute hepatic porphyrias can suffer from acute neuropathic attacks, which can lead to death when undiagnosed, but show only unspecific clinical symptoms such as abdominal pain. Therefore, in addition to chromatographic methods, a rapid screening test is required to allow for immediate identification and treatment of these patients. In this study, fluorescence spectroscopic measurements were conducted on blood plasma and phantom material, mimicking the composition of blood plasma of porphyria patients. Hydrochloric acid was used to differentiate the occurring porphyrins (uroporphyrin-III and coproporphyrin-III) spectroscopically despite their initially overlapping excitation spectra. Plasma phantom mixtures were measured using dual wavelength excitation and the corresponding concentrations of uroporphyrin-III and coproporphyrin-III were determined. Additionally, three plasma samples of porphyria patients were examined and traces of coproporphyrin-III and uroporphyrin-III were identified. This study may therefore help to establish a rapid screening test method with spectroscopic differentiation of the occurring porphyrins, which consequently allows for the distinction of different porphyrias. This may be a valuable tool for clinical porphyria diagnosis and rapid or immediate treatment.

© 2015 SPIE

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