Large amounts of intraerythrocyte 2-3 diphosphoglycerate (2-3 DPG) increase red cell oxygen-releasing capacity. Since glycosylated hemoglobins, found in higher percentages in diabetics, have an increased oxygen affinity, 2-3 DPG concentration was assayed in 12 diabetics (4 I.D.D., 8 N.I.D.D.) and 18 healthy volunteers. 2-3 DPG was related to glycemic fasting values and to glycosylated hemoglobins to evaluate if 2-3 DPG levels increase in diabetics as a compensatory mechanism to prevent peripheral hypoxia. 2-3 DPG values were significantly higher in diabetics than in normals: 11.4 mumol/gHb +/- 1.7 (= M +/- 1 SD) vs 9.8 mumol/gHb +/- 2.3 (p less than 0.05). 2-3 DPG did not correlate significantly to glycosylated hemoglobins or to glycemic values neither in diabetics nor in normals. These preliminary observations emphasize the usefullness of 2-3 DPG assay in evaluating peripheral oxygenation in diabetics: 2-3 DPG is higher in diabetics but does not correlate to glycemic equilibrium.
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