A mouse model of familial porphyria cutanea tarda.
Approximately one-third of patients with porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT), the most common porphyria in humans, inherit a single mutant allele of the uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (URO-D) gene. PCT associated with URO-D mutations is designated familial PCT. The phenotype is characterized by a photosensitive dermatosis with hepatic accumulation and urinary excretion of uroporphyrin and hepta-carboxylic porphyrins. Most heterozygotes for URO-D mutations do not express a porphyric phenotype unless hepatic siderosis is present. Hemochromatosis gene (HFE) mutations are frequently found when the phenotype is expressed. We used homologous recombination to disrupt one allele of murine URO-D. URO-D(+/-) mice had half-wild type (wt) URO-D protein and enzymatic activity in all tissues but did not accumulate hepatic porphyrins, indicating that half-normal URO-D activity is not rate limiting. When URO-D(+/-) mice were injected with iron-dextran and given drinking water containing delta-aminolevulinic acid for 21 days, hepatic porphyrins accumulated, and hepatic URO-D activity was reduced to 20% of wt. We bred mice homozygous for an HFE gene disruption (HFE(-/-)) to URO-D(+/-) mice, generating mice with the URO-D(+/-)/HFE(-/-) genotype. These animals developed a porphyric phenotype by 14 weeks of age without ALA supplementation, and URO-D activity was reduced to 14% of wt. These data indicate that iron overload alone is sufficient to reduce URO-D activity to rate-limiting levels in URO-D(+/-) mice. The URO-D(+/-) mouse serves as an excellent model of familial PCT and affords the opportunity to define the mechanism by which iron influences URO-D activity.
Phillips, JD; Jackson, LK; Bunting, M; Franklin, MR; Thomas, KR; Levy, JE; Andrews, NC; Kushner, JP
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