The glutathione stability of red cells was estimated in 40 patients during acute hemolysis induced by fava beans. There were wide individual differences but in all cases except one (Case 18) the post-incubation GSH fell to levels below 40 mg. per cent packed RBC which is the lower normal limit.
The GSH stability on 44 mothers and 37 fathers gave results consistent with the genetic hypothesis that in male patients the mother is the carrier of the biochemical defect, while in female patients both parents are carriers, since, as a rule, only female homozygotes suffer from hemolytic episodes. However, in only 77.7 per cent of the mothers could the biochemical defect be proved by this method.
The Motulsky test was performed in 30 of the 40 patients. It gave abnormal decolorization times in 25 or 83 per cent of the cases. This test is therefore valuable for diagnosing "sensitivity" during a hemolytic episode; it is, nevertheless, less sensitive than the GSH stability method.
The Motulsky test was also performed on 31 mothers, 18 fathers and 8 siblings. It proved to be unreliable in the detection of female heterozygotes.
G-6-PD deficiency is widely disseminated in Greece; it is, however, not evenly distributed throughout the country.
The highest frequency of G-6-PD deficiency found so far in males was about 3 per cent; the lowest was 0.7 per cent.