Drug Susceptibility and the Development of Erythrocyte Enzyme Systems

  • Werner Schröter
Part of the Nutricia Symposium book series (NUSY, volume 3)


Some peculiarities of the erythrocytes of newborn infants are now well documented. The best known are their high hemoglobin F concentration and their shortened life span of about 80 days (I, 2). Clinically most important is the susceptibility of newborn infants, especially of prematures, to develop hemolytic anemia, characterized by Heinz bodies within the red cells, or methemoglobinemia on exposure to a variety of agents (Reviews see 3, 4). The mechanism of this high susceptibilty, mainly, against oxidizing drugs, has been the subject of numerous studies in the past 20 years. The examination of the erythrocytes of newborn infants has been stimulated especially by the introduction of enzymology. Due to the relative homogeneity and availability of erythrocyte suspensions and their comparatively small number of metabolic pathways, the biochemical characterization of the human erythrocyte is more accomplished than that of most other human tissues. The developmental variations of the erythrocyte enzyme activities are well known too. But all these more descriptive studies do not definitely explain why the erythrocytes of newborn infants live only 80 instead of 120 days and why these cells are highly vulnerable to oxidizing agents.


Newborn Infant Fragility Curve Heinz Body Cation Flux Erythrocyte Enzyme 
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Copyright information

© H. E. Stenfert Kroese N.V. Leiden Holland 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner Schröter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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