Skin heme oxygenase is locally elevated by stimuli such as tissue injury and injections of whole blood, myoglobin, and hematin. The enzyme activity is also increased at the proximity of the injection site of chemicals such as cobalt and cobalt-protoporphyrin-IX (cobalt-heme). Protoporphyrin-IX, the tetrapyrrole nucleus of type-b heme compounds, was ineffective in altering the enzyme activity in vivo. The developmental pattern of heme oxygenase in skin was compared to that of the enzyme in liver. The enzyme activity in both organs was greatest during the 1st postpartum wk and declined to adult levels after 2 wk. The physiological implications of the increased activity of skin heme oxygenase are discussed, and it is concluded that the activity of the hepatic heme oxygenase system and that of the skin are regulated by the same mechanism.

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