Porphyrins and Their Possible Significance in Harderian Glands

  • Rosemary C. Spike
  • Anthony P. Payne
  • Michael R. Moore


Porphyrins are highly coloured compounds which fluoresce red in light of wavelength around 400 nm. They are widely distributed throughout the animal and plant kingdom. Protoporphyrin IX occurs in the pigmented eggshells of many species of birds while uroporphyrin is found in the shells of molluscs. However, their most important role is when complexed to metals to form metalloporphyrins, which are essential for all biological oxidation reactions. Haem is the iron complex of protoporphyrin. The rodent Harderian gland is remarkable in its ability to synthesise porphyrins, which in some species exceeds that of the liver.


Golden Hamster Haem Biosynthesis Harderian Gland Female Hamster Porphyrin Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary C. Spike
    • 1
  • Anthony P. Payne
    • 1
  • Michael R. Moore
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Department of Medicine and TherapeuticsWestern InfirmaryGlasgowScotland UK

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