This study investigated the possible oxidative effect of vitamin K3 (menadione) and Vitamin K1 (Konakion) on neonatal erythrocytes by controlled in vitro exposure. Menadione caused only mild morphological changes and did not decrease ATP levels. However, it oxidized intracellular hemoglobin to methemoglobin in neonatal cells more than in adult cells. Reduced glutathione contents were higher in neonatal cells, but less available for antioxidant protection. Konakion did not increase methemoglobin levels in newborn infants after a prophylactic injection. In vitro exposure to Konakion did not affect reduced glutathione and ATP levels, nor did it oxidize hemoglobin. However, extensive morphological changes were observed, attributed to the effect of its solvent. Therefore, it seems that menadione, which is no longer administered to newborns, causes oxidative stress in neonatal cells whereas Konakion, the current vitamin K1, does not, either in in vitro studies or by therapeutic administration.

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