porphyrin


por·phy·rin

noun \ˈpr-fə-rən\

Definition of PORPHYRIN

:  any of various compounds with a macrocyclic structure that consists essentially of four pyrrole rings joined by four =CH− groups; especially :  one (as chlorophyll or hemoglobin) containing a central metal atom and usually exhibiting biological activity

Origin of PORPHYRIN

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek porphyra purple
First Known Use: 1910

por·phy·rin

noun \ˈpr-fə-rən\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PORPHYRIN

: any of various compounds with a structure that consists essentially of four pyrrole rings joined by four =CH− groups; especially : one (as chlorophyll or hemoglobin) containing a central metal atom and usually having biological activity

porphyrin

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a class of biologically important heterocyclic compounds of a characteristic chemical structure that includes four pyrrole groups (five-membered organic rings each containing a nitrogen atom) linked by additional carbon atoms to form a large flat ring. As biological pigments, they and closely related molecules are responsible for many of the vivid colours in living organisms, where they often occur combined with metal ions and various substituents as coordination complexes (see compound). These include the magnesium-containing chlorophylls and the iron-containing heme group, a constituent (along with protein) of, e.g., hemoglobin, the cytochromes, and the enzyme catalase. In medicine, porphyrins are used in conjunction with light, often a laser beam, to induce reactions in the body against cancer and other diseases.

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