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Antioxidant enzyme activities in healthy Chinese adults: influence of age, gender and smoking*

Authors

  • Siu P. HO,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • Moira CHAN-YEUNG,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • Kathy K.M. CHOW,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • Mary S.M. IP,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • Judith C.W. MAK

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
      Judith C.W. Mak, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, Room 804, Administration Block, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China. Email: judithmak@hku.hk
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  • *

    Siu P. Ho carried out all the biochemical measurements, Moira Chan-Yeung and Mary S. M. Ip recruited all the subjects, Kathy K. M. Chow carried out all the database entry and statistical analysis and Judith C. W. Mak initiated the study and wrote the manuscript.

Judith C.W. Mak, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, Room 804, Administration Block, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China. Email: judithmak@hku.hk

Abstract

Objective:  Specific antioxidant enzymes play a vital role in regulating and maintaining oxidant species. The aim of this study was to determine these antioxidant enzyme activities (i.e. catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)) in erythrocytes from a group of healthy Chinese subjects and to study the influence of age, gender and smoking habits on the enzyme activities.

Methodology:  Chinese healthy subjects (n = 276) were grouped according to their age range, gender differences and smoking habits. Antioxidant enzyme activities were measured spectrophotometrically using standard kinetic methods.

Results:  There was a significant decrease in erythrocyte GPx activity in ever-smokers compared with non-smokers (47.10 ± 1.33 mU/g haemoglobin (Hb) vs. 51.41 ± 1.64 mU/g Hb, P < 0.05). Age-related significant increases in erythrocyte CAT and SOD activities were found in non-smokers but not in ever-smokers. There was no age-related difference in erythrocyte GPx activity in either non-smokers or ever-smokers. Among those >60 years old, erythrocyte CAT and GPx activities were significantly lower in ever-smokers than in non-smokers (29.70 ± 3.07 mU/g Hb vs. 41.63 ± 4.92 mU/g Hb (P < 0.05), and 47.55 ± 2.00 mU/g Hb vs. 55.30 ± 3.60 mU/g Hb (P < 0.05), respectively). It was also found that females had higher erythrocyte GPx activity than males but this difference did not reach significance in non-smokers.

Conclusion:  From the results of this study, it is concluded that oxidative stress seems to be present in elderly ever-smokers among the Chinese population.

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