Discerning the Mauve factor, Part 2

Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 May-Jun;14(3):56-62.


"Mauve Factor" was once mistaken for kryptopyrrole but is the hydroxylactam of hemopyrrole, hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL). Treatment with nutrients--particularly vitamin B6 and zinc--reduces urinary excretion of HPL and improves diverse neurobehavioral symptoms in subjects with elevated urinary HPL. Heightened HPL excretion classically associates with emotional stress, which in turn is known to associate with oxidative stress. For this review, markers for nutritional status and for oxidative stress were examined in relationship to urinary HPL. In cohorts with mixed diagnoses, 24-hour urinary HPL correlated negatively with vitamin B6 activity and zinc concentration in red cells (P < .0001). Above-normal HPL excretion corresponded to subnormal vitamin B6 activity and subnormal zinc with remarkable consistency. HPL correlated inversely with plasma GSH and red-cell catalase, and correlated directly with plasma nitric oxide (P < .0001). Thus, besides implying proportionate needs for vitamin B6 and zinc, HPL is a promising biomarker for oxidative stress. HPL is known to cause non-erythroid heme depression, which lowers zinc, increases nitric oxide, and increases oxidative stress. Administration of prednisone reportedly provoked HPL excretion in animals. Since adrenocorticoid (and catecholamine) stress hormones mediate intestinal permeability, urinary HPL was examined in relationship to urinary indicans, presumptive marker for intestinal permeability. Urinary HPL associated with higher levels ofindicans (P < .0001). Antibiotics reportedly reduce HPL in urine, suggesting an enterobic role in production. Potentially, gut is reservoir for HPL or its precursor, and stress-related changes in intestinal permeability mediate systemic and urinary concentrations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Free Radicals / metabolism*
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / blood*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / urine*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pyrroles / blood*
  • Pyrroles / urine*
  • Vitamin B 6 / therapeutic use
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Pyrroles
  • 2-hydroxyhemopyrroline-5-one
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Zinc