Fecal coproporphyrin isomers in hereditary coproporphyria

Clin Chem. 1992 Jan;38(1):96-100.


To see whether the fecal coproporphyrin III:coproporphyrin I (CIII:CI) ratio (determined by HPLC) would be suitable for screening patients at risk of hereditary coproporphyria (HC), we compared such ratios with the lymphocyte coproporphyrinogen oxidase (EC activities (COOX) in 38 subjects from one large family and two smaller families with HC. The CIII:CI ratio was normal (less than 1.3) in adults with normal COOX (greater than 180 nmol/g of protein per hour) and high (greater than 2) in those with low COOX. Results were difficult to interpret in six of 10 children, who had borderline or low COOX but normal fecal CIII:CI ratios. Five subjects with low COOX and abnormal fecal CIII:CI ratios had normal fecal total porphyrin, indicating that the latter investigation alone is inadequate for family studies. The sample for determining the fecal CIII:CI ratio is easier to obtain and the assay is technically less demanding than COOX. We found the fecal CIII:CI ratio suitable for investigation of adults in a family study, but its usefulness in children needs to be established.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coproporphyrinogen Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Coproporphyrins / analysis*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / enzymology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Porphyrias / metabolism*


  • Coproporphyrins
  • Coproporphyrinogen Oxidase