The authors have standardized methods for evaluation of the activity of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and of glutathione reductase. The general principle of the first method was based on methemoglobin formation by sodium nitrite followed by stimulation of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase with methylene blue. Forty six adults (23 males and 23 females) were studied. Subjects were not G6PD deficient and were aged 20 to 30 years. The results showed that methemoglobin reduction by methylene blue was 154.40 and 139.90 mg/min (p<0.05) for males and females, respectively, in whole blood, and 221.10 and 207.85 mg/min (n.s.), respectively, in washed red cells. These data showed that using washed red cells and 0.7g% sodium nitrite concentration produced no differences between sexes and also shortened reading time for the residual amount of methemoglobin to 90 minutes. Glutathione reductase activity was evaluated on the basis of the fact that cystamine (a thiol agent) binds to the SH groups of hemoglobin, forming complexes. These complexes are reversed by the action of glutathione reductase, with methemoglobin reduction occurring simultaneously with this reaction. Thirty two adults (16 males and 16 females) were studied. Subjects were not G6PD deficient and were aged 20 to 30 years. Methemoglobin reduction by cystamine was 81.27 and 91.13 mg/min (p<0.01) for males and females, respectively. These data showed that using washed red cells and 0.1 M cystamine concentration permits a reading of the residual amount of methemoglobin at 180 minutes of incubation. Glutathione reductase activity was evaluated by methemoglobin reduction by cystamine in 14 females before and after treatment with 10 mg riboflavin per day for 8 days. The results were 73.69 and 94.26 jug/min (p<0.01) before and after treatment, showing that riboflavin treatment increase glutathione reductase activity even in normal individuals. Three Black G6PD-deficient individuals (2 males and 1 female) were also studied. The G6PD and glutathione reductase were partially activated, the change being more intense in males. On the basis of race and of the laboratory characteristics observed, it is possible to suggest that the G6PD deficiency of these individuals is of the African type and that the female is heterozygous for this deficiency. Analysis of the results as a whole permitted us to conclude that the methods proposed here were efficient for evaluating the activity of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and of glutathione reductase. The latter is dependent on the pentose pathway, which generates NADPH, and on riboflavin, a FAD precursor vitamin.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; Glutathione reductase; Methemoglobin; Cystamine; Riboflavin