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September 1946


Author Affiliations

(MC), U.S.N.R.

From the Departments of Dermatology and Biochemistry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and from the Skin and Cancer Unit, New York Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital, Columbia University.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1946;54(3):281-291. doi:10.1001/archderm.1946.01510380028004

INTEREST in the physiologic and pathologic significance of the porphyrins has increased considerably during the last two decades, mainly as a result of the thorough chemical investigations of Hans Fischer1 and his collaborators. Whereas the rare metabolic anomalies characterized by enormously raised excretion of porphyrins which were studied in the pioneer work of Garrod2 and Günther3 were originally medical curiosities, the more precise methods developed during the last fifteen years have shown that the porphyrins play a vital part in both normal and pathologic pigment metabolism.

Anderson4 was the first to suggest the association of porphyrins with abnormal sensitivity to light. In 1898 he described two brothers suffering from recurrent bullous lesions of the uncovered parts of the body, which he diagnosed as hydroa estivale. The urine of both took on a burgundy red color at times, and chemical examination revealed the presence of a

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