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Porphyrins are a "group of compounds containing the porphin structure, four pyrrole rings connected by methine bridges in a cyclic configuration to which a variety of side chains are attached. The nature of the side chain is indicated by a prefix, as uroporphyrin, hematoporphyrin, etc. The porphyrins, in combination with iron, form the heme component in biologically significant compounds such as hemoglobin and myoglobin."[1] Heme is also a component of cytochrome P-450.

Porphyrias are metabolic diseases in the heme biosynthetic pathway characterized by buildup of porphyrin precursors such as porphobilinogen (PBG).


  1. Anonymous (2015), Porphyrin (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.