Porphyrin metabolism in hepatitis C infection


Department of Dermatology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland Accepted for publication February 2, 1996


Hepatitis C virus has been implicated as a major precipitating factor in porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). To determine whether hepatitis C infection alone is sufficient to induce PCT, we screened two groups of patients with hepatitis C infection. The first group comprised women who had become HCV positive secondary to immunization with anti-D immunoglobulin (group 1). Group 2 included males and females who were HCV positive but HIV negative secondary to intravenous drug abuse. Though both groups had very abnormal liver function tests, we found no significant abnormalities in porphyrin metabolism in these groups of patients. Therefore, in this study population, we conclude that HCV infection alone is insufficient to cause porphyrin metabolic derangement.