Inherited catalase deficiency: Is it benign or a factor in various age related disorders?

László Góth, Teréz Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogen peroxide was - and is still - considered toxic for a wide range of living organisms. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an excess of pro-oxidants over antioxidants and it has been implicated in several diseases. Catalase is involved in hydrogen peroxide catabolism and is important in defense against oxidative stress. Acatalasemia means the inherited near-total deficiency of catalase activity, usually in reference to red cell catalase. Acatalasemia was thought at first to be an asymptotic disorder. In the absence of catalase, neither the Japanese, or Hungarian acatalasemics nor acatalasemic mice had significantly increased blood glutathione peroxidase activity. In animal models, catalase deficient tissues show much slower rates of removal of extracellular hydrogen peroxide. In catalase knock-out mice, a decreased hydrogen peroxide removing capacity and increased reactive oxygen species formation were reported. Hydrogen peroxide may cause methemoglobinemia in patients with catalase deficiency. During anesthesia for a Japanese acatalasemic patient the disinfection with hydrogen peroxide solution caused severe methemoglobinemia. Patients with inherited catalase deficiency, who are treated with uric acid oxidase (rasburicase) may experience very high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and may suffer from methemoglobinemia and hemolysis. The high (18.5%) prevalence of diabetes mellitus in inherited catalase deficient individuals and the earlier (10 years) manifestation of the disease may be attributed to the oxidative damage of oxidant sensitive, insulin producing pancreatic beta-cells. Ninety-seven of 114 acatalasemics had diseases related to oxidative stress and aging. The oxidative stress due to catalase deficiency could contribute to the manifestation of diabetes while for the other diseases it may be one of the factors in their causations. In summary, inherited catalase deficiency is associated with clinical features, pathologic laboratory test results, age and oxidative stress related disorders. Rather than considering it a benign condition, it should be considered as a complicating condition for aging and oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013



  • Acatalasemia
  • Age related diseases
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Hypocatalasemia
  • Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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