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Ethn Dis. 2001 Fall;11(4):749-54.

G6PD deficiency: its role in the high prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

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Geriatrics Hospital, St. Michael, Barbados, West Indies.


Hypertension and diabetes mellitus represent increasing threats to the health of many populations. For reasons not completely understood, the prevalence of these diseases is higher in some ethnic groups than in others. The key to this puzzle may rest with the interplay of a defect of an enzyme-mediated process and the environment. Oxidative stress and impairment of synthesis or release of nitric oxide (NO) are being regarded as causative factors in the pathogenesis of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis, among other conditions. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency has been overlooked as a cause of both oxidative stress and a decrease in the generation of nitric oxide (NO). G6PD generates nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), a co-factor in the synthesis of nitric oxide. There is impairment of the production of nitric oxide superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in G6PD-deficient granulocytes. In the polyol pathway, G6PD deficiency causes hyperglycemia, making more glucose available for the non-enzymatic production of advanced glycosylation end products (AGE's), which also causes an increase in superoxide anions and a quenching of nitric oxide. Currently, there are 200 million people worldwide with red cell x-linked chromosome defects who, with the persistent ingestion of refined carbohydrates, are at greater risk of developing hypertension or diabetes mellitus than those racial groups without the defect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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