Low red blood cell glutathione reductase and pyridoxine phosphate oxidase activities not related to dietary riboflavin: selection by malaria?
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
B B AndersonC Vullo
This study was designed to confirm that low dietary riboflavin does not contribute to the flavin-deficient red blood cells commonly found in subjects in Ferrara Province, northern Italy. In this area it is primarily an inherited characteristic believed to have been selected for by malaria, which was endemic from the 12th century. In parallel with assessment of daily riboflavin intake (DRI), flavin adenine dinucleotide-dependent glutathione reductase (EGR) and flavin mononucleotide-dependent pyridoxine phosphate oxidase (PPO) were measured in beta-thalassemic heterozygotes, their normal relatives, and normal spouses (representative of the normal population). In all of these groups there is a high incidence of deficiency of these flavin enzymes. We found that the majority had an adequate riboflavin intake and there was no significant correlation of EGR and PPO activities with DRI. Thus, interpretation of low EGR activity is discussed with reference to studies of EGR done to detect nutritional riboflavin deficiency in countries where there is malnutrition and endemic malaria.