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April 1964

Hereditary Diaphorase Deficiency and Methemoglobinemia

Author Affiliations


Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(4):578-585. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280100086014

Congenital cyanosis due to an abnormal amount of methemoglobin was initially reported early in this century.1,2 It was first suggested by Hitzenberger3 in 1932 that this was an inherited metabolic disease. Gibson 4 in 1948 identified idiopathic methemoglobinemia as a disease due to an inborn error of metabolism. He demonstrated that methemoglobin reduction in normal erythrocytes took place through oxidation of triose phosphate and lactate and that there was deficiency in coenzyme factor I in patients with congenital methemoglobinemia. Scott,5 in 1960 in a study of Eskimo families with congenital methemoglobinemia, demonstrated the hereditary absence of activity of the erythrocyte enzyme diaphorase, which acts to reduce methemoglobin through the DPNH system. It is the purpose of this study to report a family with congenital methemoglobinemia who have a similar hereditary deficiency in erythrocyte diaphorase.

Materials and Methods  The family under study consisted of 189 known individuals both