The biological effects of oxygen-reactive species controlled by antioxidant mechanisms are exerted on the basis of antioxidant enzymes and substrates. In this study, the activities of antioxidant enzymes – superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) – were determined in the erythrocytes of patients on regular haemodialysis treatment. The SOD activity was significantly lower (1,810.38 ± 609.85 vs. 2,347.13 ± 502.51 U/g haemoglobin, p < 0.05, or 70.71 ± 11.50 vs. 100.13 ± 24.28 mU/106 erythrocytes, p < 0.0001), as was the GPx activity (18.80 ± 4.22 vs. 23.26 ± 3.61 U/g haemoglobin, p < 0.01), when compared with the control group. A positive correlation between GPx activity and number of haemodialysis sessions was found (p = 0.0038), but no correlation between SOD activity and number of HD sessions. An inpaired antioxidant enzyme defence system, here represented by SOD and GPx levels, can potentiate injury caused by free radicals in haemodialysis patients.

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