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Br J Haematol. 1984 Aug;57(4):695-702.

Normal glutathione content and some related enzyme activities in the fetal erythrocytes.


Pure fetal blood was obtained by direct-vision fetoscopy from 66 fetuses at 17-24 weeks gestation. The concentration of GSH and the activities of the enzymes gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS), glutathione synthetase (GS), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were analysed by established techniques to find the normal ranges for this gestational age. The ranges were relatively narrow and could serve as reference values for the prenatal diagnosis of defects in the GSH metabolism of erythrocytes. The results were compared with those obtained from 38 normal adults and with published values on neonatal blood. In the case of GR a comparison was also made with maternal blood. In comparison with adults, fetal erythrocytes showed higher GSH concentration and GCS activity and lower GS and GPx activities. This pattern resembled that found in neonatal erythrocytes except for the GCS activity, which was higher in the fetal cells. Furthermore the differences between fetal and adult erythrocytes were more pronounced than those between neonatal and adult cells. The GR activity of fetal erythrocytes was also higher than that of either normal adult or maternal blood. This difference, however, was reduced to an insignificant level when the enzyme was activated in vitro by flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) because of a relatively low per cent activation of the GR in the fetal erythrocytes.

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