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Pediatr Res. 2006 Apr;59(4 Pt 1):593-7.

Erythrocyte metabolism and antioxidant status of patients with Wilson disease with hemolytic anemia.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India.


Wilson disease (WD) is an autosomal recessive disorder due to the defect in ATP7B gene characterized by excessive accumulation of copper in the liver with progressive hepatic damage and subsequent redistribution to various extrahepatic tissues including the brain, kidneys, and cornea. Strikingly, the total serum copper concentration is always low in WD, even though the non-ceruloplasmin copper level is still expected to be high. To assess the role of free radical reactions catalyzed by non-ceruloplasmin copper, we investigated erythrocyte metabolism and oxidative stress as a mechanism for hemolysis in eight WD patients during episodes of acute hemolysis and compared them with eight follow-up cases of WD on d-penicillamine therapy and eight healthy, age-matched children. Elevated levels of non-ceruloplasmin copper were found in all the WD patients during an episode of hemolytic anemia. There was marked inhibition in erythrocyte enzymes, namely, hexokinase, total adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase), and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) from WD patients compared with patients on penicillamine and healthy children, indicating altered erythrocyte metabolism during a hemolytic crisis. Antioxidant status was also found to be compromised as is evident from decreased glutathione (GSH) levels, decreased antioxidant enzymes (namely, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase), increased lipid peroxidation, and deranged plasma antioxidants. Uric acid showed maximum decrease followed by ascorbic acid. These findings suggest that the free radical production by elevated non-ceruloplasmin copper through transition metal catalyzed reactions leads to oxidative injury resulting in altered erythrocyte metabolism and severely compromised antioxidant status of WD patients during hemolytic anemia.

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