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J Pediatr. 2012 Aug;161(2):197-200. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.02.045. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Quantitative neonatal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase screening: distribution, reference values, and classification by phenotype.

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Department of Neonatology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.



To determine enzyme assay reference values for newborns in a Sephardic Jewish population at high risk for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.


Quantitative G6PD testing was performed on umbilical cord blood. The reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase, reflecting G6PD activity, was measured spectrophotometrically. Hemoglobin (Hb) was measured on the same sample. G6PD activity was recorded as U/g Hb.


Males (N = 1502) were separated into 2 distinct groups: those <7 U/g Hb (n = 243 [16.2%], median 0.28 U/g Hb), designated G6PD deficient, presumably hemizygotes; and those ≥ 9 U/g Hb (n = 1256 [83.8%], 18.76 U/g Hb), designated G6PD normal, presumably hemizygotes. Female (n = 1298) values were a continuum and were categorized based on the male distribution: those <7 U/g Hb (n = 81 [6.2%], 4.84 U/g Hb), G6PD deficient, probably homozogytes; those ≥ 9.5 U/g Hb, equivalent to 50% of the male normal value, (n = 1153 (88.8%), 18.36 U/g Hb), G6PD normal, probably homozygotes; and those with intermediate values (n = 64 [4.9%], 8.61 U/g Hb), probable heterozygotes.


Accurate identification of the male G6PD-deficient state was possible despite high normal neonatal G6PD values. Female values were presented as a continuum preventing accurate classification but were classified based on male phenotype for practical use.

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