Erythrocytes of diabetic patients have abnormal membrane properties. We examined in vivo membrane lipid peroxidation in erythrocytes of diabetic subjects and its possible relationship with hyperglycemia. Lipid peroxidation was assessed in fresh, untreated erythrocytes by quantitating thiobarbituric acid reactivity and an adduct of phospholipids and malonyldialdehyde (MDA), an end product of lipid peroxidation, with thin-layer chromatography of lipid extract of diabetic erythrocytes. There was a significantly increased membrane lipid peroxidation in diabetic erythrocytes compared with nondiabetic erythrocytes. The degree of membrane lipid peroxidative damage in erythrocytes was significantly correlated with the level of glycosylated hemoglobin, an index of mean glucose level for the preceding 3–4mo. This suggests that peroxidation of membrane lipids and accumulation of MDA occurs in erythrocytes of diabetic patients.

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