Uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity was measured in hemoglobin-free lysates from two patients with hepatoerythropoietic porphyria (HEP) and from 12 unrelated patients with familial porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). In HEP patients, enzyme activities were 5% of normal, and familial studies clearly confirmed that patients with HEP are cases of homozygous PCT. Immunoreactive uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase was measured by developing a direct and noncompetitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA). For the 12 familial PCT patients, we found an immunoreactive protein decreased (51%) to the same extent as the catalytic activity (48%) [cross-reactive immunological material ( CRIM ) negative]. The children from the HEP family were also CRIM negative, contrasting with another HEP family previously described as CRIM positive; our data support the hypothesis of a heterogeneity in familial uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase deficiency.