Skip to main content

Login to North West London Pathology – consumables service

If you need a new account or you have a query about your order, please telephone the pathology call centre on 0203 313 5353.

If you have forgotten your password you can reset this yourself. Please click here if you have forgotten your password.

Results Line and Enquiries

0203 313 5353

Porphobilinogen (PBG)

Category Biochemistry >> Metabolic
Test background

The porphyrias are inherited or acquired disorders of certain enzymes in the haem biosynthetic pathway that is responsible for the synthesis of haemoglobin, myoglobin and cytochrome. They are broadly classified as hepatic porphyrias or erythropoietic porphyrias, based on the site of their overproduction and subsequent accumulation (or their chemical precursors).

Clinical Indications

An acute attack of porphyria almost invariably starts with continuous, severe abdominal pain, with autonomic neuropathy developing in two thirds of patients. Acute attacks of porphyria are usually associated with raised urinary excretion of PBG (and δ-aminolaevulinic acid). Consequently, a raised level is seen in acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria and variegate porphyria. A random urine specimen associated with a symptomatic episode is required because between attacks, concentrations of PBG are often normal.

Reference range

See report

Sample & container required Random urine protected from light
Sample volume 5 mL
Transport storage Urine must be protected from light at all times. Send frozen if they will not be received same working day.
Turnaround time 2 weeks

The in-house method is adequate only for the investigation of symptomatic patients but is unsuitable for family studies, measurements during remission or for making retrospective diagnosis.