Zinc Protoporphyrin

Definition - What does Zinc Protoporphyrin mean?

Zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) is formed when there is a lack of iron in the human body or the concentration of lead is too high. In the human body, red blood cells generally carry zinc protoporphyrin only when heme production is procured by a high amount of lead or by a deficiency of iron. In ZPP, instead of incorporating a ferrous ion to form heme, an immediate precursor of heme known as protoporphyrin IX is formed, which further produces a zinc ion that in turn produces ZPP.

Corrosionpedia explains Zinc Protoporphyrin

Porphyrin compounds contain and carry zinc ions in the blood. One of the major non-heme porphyrins formed in red blood cells is ZPP, which occurs due to an iron deficiency or lead poisoning.

In cases of lead poisoning or an iron deficiency, it is advisable to measure the ZPP levels in the red blood cells. Cases in which a ZPP test is required include:

  • Lead poisoning
  • Iron deficiency
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  • Anemia of chronic disease
  • Vanadium exposure
  • Erythropoietic protoporphyria

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