Partial or near-total lack of erythrocyte catalase activity is a rare condition, generally thought to be benign. However, little is known of the frequency of common diseases of adult onset in human beings with catalase deficiency. We report that, in a series of Hungarian patients with catalase deficiency, there is a higher frequency of diabetes than in unaffected first-degree relatives and the general Hungarian population. We speculate that quantitative deficiency of catalase might predispose to cumulative oxidant damage of pancreatic β-cells and diabetes.
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