Murine models of the human porphyrias: Contributions toward understanding disease pathogenesis and the development of new therapies

Makiko Yasuda, Robert J. Desnick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mouse models of the human porphyrias have proven useful for investigations of disease pathogenesis and to facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches. To date, mouse models have been generated for all major porphyrias, with the exception of X-linked protoporphyria (XLP) and the ultra rare 5-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase deficient porphyria (ADP). Mouse models have been generated for the three autosomal dominant acute hepatic porphyrias, acute intermittent porphyria (AIP), hereditary coproporphyria (HCP), and variegate porphyria (VP). The AIP mice, in particular, provide a useful investigative model as they have been shown to have acute biochemical attacks when induced with the prototypic porphyrinogenic drug, phenobarbital. In addition to providing important insights into the disease pathogenesis of the neurological impairment in AIP, these mice have been valuable for preclinical evaluation of liver-targeted gene therapy and RNAi-mediated approaches. Mice with severe HMBS deficiency, which clinically and biochemically mimic the early-onset homozygous dominant AIP (HD-AIP) patients, have been generated and were used to elucidate the striking phenotypic differences between AIP and HD-AIP. Mice modeling the hepatocutaneous porphyria, porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT), made possible the identification of the iron-dependent inhibitory mechanism of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) that leads to symptomatic PCT. Mouse models for the two autosomal recessive erythropoietic porphyrias, congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) and erythropoeitic protoporphyria (EPP), recapitulate many of the clinical and biochemical features of the severe human diseases and have been particularly useful for evaluation of bone marrow transplantation and hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)-based gene therapy approaches. The EPP mice have also provided valuable insights into the underlying pathogenesis of EPP-induced liver damage and anemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-341
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Acute hepatic pophyrias
  • Erythropoietic porphyrias
  • Inborn errors of heme biosynthesis
  • Mouse models
  • Porphyrias


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