Some metabolic alterations of the pentose-phosphate shunt can increase susceptibility to red blood cell (RBC) lipid peroxidation in uraemic patients on maintenance haemodialysis. We investigated this phenomenon in 19 uraemic patients undergoing chronic haemodialysis by determining RBC malonyldialdehyde (MDA), a secondary product of lipid peroxidation and plasma and RBC tocopherols, which are powerful antioxidants. Evidence of RBC membrane lipid peroxidation was demonstrated by an increase of RBC MDA. RBC tocopherols were significantly decreased because of enhanced antioxidant activity. No significant variations of these parameters were found before and after dialysis.

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