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Br J Haematol. 1994 Nov;88(3):547-54.

In vivo metabolic studies of glucose, ATP and 2,3-DPG in beta-thalassaemia intermedia, heterozygous beta-thalassaemic and normal erythrocytes: 13C and 31P MRS studies.

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Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi della Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende, Italy.


13C and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to characterize the in vivo kinetics of glucose metabolism and intracellular ATP and 2,3-DPG concentrations in erythrocytes obtained from beta-thalassaemia intermedia, heterozygous beta-thalassaemic and normal individuals and maintained in suspension. Except for an upfield chemical shift in the 2P and 3P resonance of 2,3-DPG in the thalassaemia intermedia erythrocytes, the 31P spectra were comparable between all three blood types, showing similar concentrations of ATP (from 4.5 to 5.2 mumol/g Hb) and 2,3-DPG (from 17.2 to 19.7 mumol/g Hb). However, the profile of glucose metabolism was quite different in beta-thalassaemia intermedia erythrocytes, whereas glucose was consumed at a rate of 0.089 +/- 0.035 fmol/cell/h, significantly higher than that of normal (0.032 +/- 0.018 fmol/cell/h; P = 0.01) and heterozygous (0.025 +/- 0.004 fmol/cell/h; P = 0.01) erythrocytes. This near 3-fold faster rate of glucose metabolism in the thalassaemia intermedia erythrocytes could not be accounted for by any increase in glucose flux via the Embden-Meyerhof pathway, since no significant difference in 3-13C-lactate synthesis was observed among the three blood types (in units of fmol/cell/h, normal, 0.021 +/- 0.013; heterozygous, 0.021 +/- 0.006; beta-thalassaemia intermedia 0.045 +/- 0.025). These results reflect an accelerated rate of glucose metabolism in thalassaemia intermedia erythrocytes because the contribution of reticulocytes to this altered pattern of metabolism could be excluded. As the only other route of glucose metabolism in erythrocytes is the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), these results indicate that the PPP is more active in beta-thalassaemia intermedia erythrocytes, perhaps as a consequence of their elevated intracellular oxidative state.

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