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. Zinc protoporphyrin is found in red blood cells when heme production is inhibited by lead and/or by a lack of iron. Instead of incorporating a ferrous ion to form heme, protoporphyrin IX, the immediate precursor of heme, incorporates a zinc ion that in turn produces ZPP.

Corrosionpedia explains Zinc Protoporphyrin

Porphyrin compounds containing zinc have been known since the 1930s. They attracted more than an academic interest with the discovery, in 1974, that ZPP was the major non-heme porphyrin formed in red blood cells as the result of lead poisoning or an iron deficiency.

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 the ZPP test is required includes:

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

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