Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2020;9(4):187-195. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2020.03054)

Acute intermittent porphyria: focus on possible mechanisms of acute and chronic manifestations

Ma YL, Teng Q, Zhang YR, Zhang SY


Porphyrias are a group of inherited metabolic diseases that include eight types, each of which is caused by a mutation that affects an enzyme of the heme biosynthetic pathway. When an enzyme defect has physiological significance, it leads to overproduction of pathway precursors prior to the defective step. The partial absence of the third enzyme in the heme biosynthetic pathway, porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD) also known as hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS), results in acute intermittent porphyria (AIP), which affects mainly women. Subjects who had AIP symptoms were deemed to have manifest AIP (MAIP). Clinical manifestations are usually diverse and non-specific. Acute AIP episodes may present with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, and repeated episodes may result in a series of chronic injuries. Therefore, studying the mechanisms of acute and chronic manifestations of AIP is of great significance. This review aims to summarize the possible mechanisms of acute and chronic manifestations in patients with AIP.

KEYWORDS: acute intermittent porphyria, mechanisms, aminolevulinic acid (ALA), attack

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