Non-iron porphyrins inhibit beta-haematin (malaria pigment) polymerisation.
Basilico N., Monti D., Olliaro P., Taramelli D.
Infrared spectroscopy was used to evaluate the effect of non-iron porphyrins (protoporphyrin IX and haematoporphyrin) on haematin polymerisation to beta-haematin at acidic pH. Both molecules effectively inhibited the reaction, with haematoporphyrin 6 times as active as protoporphyrin IX. We postulated that the interaction between the pi electron system of porphyrin rings leads to the formation of pi-pi adducts, which inhibit polymer elongation in the same way as antimalarial drugs (e.g., chloroquine); the presence of hydroxyl groups able to bind haem iron enhances activity.