Coproporphyrin III is a porphyrin derivative.
Small amounts of porphyrins (coproporphyrin) are excreted in normal human urine. Coproporphyrin also is present in bile and feces.
By convention, the term porphyria is used to define those disease states that have a hereditary basis and increased urinary or fecal excretion of uroporphyrins and coproporphyrins.
Porphyria can affect the nervous system or skin. Sometimes both are affected. The condition may or may not cause symptoms. Symptoms may develop over hours or days and last for days or weeks. Symptoms may be brought on by various medicines, smoking, drinking alcohol, weight loss, pregnancy, infections, or major surgery.
– Skin problems after sun exposure
– Pain, especially belly pain
– Numbness and tingling
– Digestive upset
– Personality changes
– Mental disorders
– Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
– Painful urination
Increased levels of coproporphyrins could be a sign of porphyria (ex. “Variegate porphyria”)
Mild elevations of urine coproporphyrins (eg, as high as two times the reference range) are common and nonspecific. Fasting, subtle liver disease, or normal variations are the most common causes of elevated urine coproporphyrins. In such cases, patients may be incorrectly labeled as having porphyria.
Excess coproporphyrin excretion is also observed in a wide variety of conditions including:
– Hemolytic anemias
– Liver disease
– Lead poisoning
– Arsenic poisoning
– Hepatitis C
– Hodgkin’s disease
The screening test for coproporphyrinuria has been especially useful for detecting exposure to lead.
In Rotor syndrome, total urinary coproporphyrin is increased two- to fivefold over normal.
A great increase of coproporphyrin III excretion is unaccompanied by symptoms or signs of porphyria, metal or chemical poisoning or liver disease.
If acute porphyria, which is often misdiagnosed, is suspected, please discuss further steps with your healthcare professional.
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