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Clin Exp Med. 2004 Sep;4(1):50-5.

N-acetyl cysteine, L-cysteine, and beta-mercaptoethanol augment selenium-glutathione peroxidase activity in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase-deficient human erythrocytes.

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Department of Biochemistry, Akdeniz University, School of Medicine, 07070 Antalya, Turkey.


In glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)-deficient erythrocytes, failure to maintain normal levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) due to decreased NADPH regeneration in the hexose monophosphate pathway results in acute hemolytic anemia following exposure to oxidative insults, such as ingestion of Vicia fava beans or use of certain drugs. GSH is a source of protection against oxidative attack, used by the selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase (Se-GSH-Px)/reductase (GR) system to detoxify hydrogen peroxide and organic peroxides, provided that sufficient GSH is made available. In this study, Se-GSH-Px activity was analyzed in G6PD-deficient patients in the presence of reducing agents such as N-Acetyl cysteine, L-cysteine, and beta-mercaptoethanol. Se-GSH-Px activity was decreased in G6PD-deficient red blood cells (RBCs). N-Acetyl cysteine, L-cysteine, and beta-mercaptoethanol increased Se-GSH-Px activity in G6PD-deficient human erythrocytes, indicating that other reducing agents can be utilized to complement Se-GSH-Px activity in G6PD deficiency. Based on the increased susceptibility of G6PD-deficient patients to oxidative stress, the reported increase in Se-GSH-Px activity can facilitate the detoxification of reactive oxygen species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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