Profiling of Serum Metabolites of Acute Intermittent Porphyria and Asymptomatic HMBS Mutation Carriers

Cells. 2021 Sep 28;10(10):2579. doi: 10.3390/cells10102579.


This study aims to present the serum metabolite profiles of patients with acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) and identify specific metabolites that could potentially discriminate between AIP, asymptomatic HMBS mutation carriers, and healthy individuals. The study cohort included 46 female participants: 21 AIP patients, 5 asymptomatic carriers, and 20 'normal' participants (without HMBS gene mutation). Serum samples were analyzed for 157 selected metabolites or clinical variables using an assay combining liquid chromatography MS/MS and direct flow injection. AUC analysis was used to distinguish unique variables between the three groups. A total of 15 variables differed significantly between the AIP and normal control group (VIP score > 1.0 and p < 0.05 with FDR correction). In AIP patients, the levels tyrosine, valine, and eGFR were significantly lower, and the levels of sphingomyelin C16:0, C24:0, C24:1, phosphatidylcholine diacyl C32:1, C36:1, C36:3, ornithine, sarcosine, citrulline, blood urea nitrogen AST, and ALT were significantly higher. The AUC of these 15 variables in discriminating between normal and AIP patients ranged between 0.73 and 0.94 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, serum metabolic profiles differ between normal individuals and patients carrying the HMBS mutation. The unique metabolites associated with AIP identified in this study may be useful for monitoring the development of AIP symptoms.

Keywords: heme metabolism; metabolic reprogramming; metabolomic profiling; porphobilinogen; porphobilinogen deaminase; δ-aminolevulinic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Porphyria, Acute Intermittent / genetics*