The levels of ATP, ADP, AMP, NADP, NADPH, NAD, NADH and reduced glutathione were determined in the red blood cells of individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, β-thalassemia (β-thal) heterozygotes and in a boy carrying both mutations. The results obtained confirmed a reduced concentration of NADPH in G6PD deficiency and showed that with the combination of both diseases, the red blood cell contained practically undetectable levels of NADPH. Assays of some red blood cell enzyme activities known to be markedly influenced by cell age suggested that a younger mean red cell population is present in β-thal/G6PD deficiency. Thus, the marked oxidative stress caused by β-thal, that is apparently incompatible with G6PD deficiency, in fact exists, probably because of the residual activity of this enzyme in the younger red cells.

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