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This is an interesting review of the significance of the porphyrins in biology and clinical medicine. The porphyrins are chemically closely related to the other blood pigments (hemin, bile pigment) and to chlorophyll. The chemistry of the porphyrins is discussed from the medical standpoint. Blood pigment, porphyrins and chlorophyll are composed of four heterocyclic pyrrol rings, to which methyl and ethyl groups are attached. The chemical formulas of the more important compounds are described. Then the qualitative and quantitative methods of isolation are given. The biologic properties of the porphyrins are numerous. The best known is their photosensitizing action. These substances have a special affinity for the skeletal system. Porphyrins have been found normally in the red blood cells, urine, bone marrow and other structures. Porphyrins are increased in the urine in various febrile diseases that lead to red blood cell destruction; also after arsenic medication and in malaria, pernicious
Die Porphyrine: ihr Nachweis, ihre Physiologie und Klinik. JAMA. 1936;107(9):741. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770350109042
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