G6PD, or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, is an essential enzyme found in the body that plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of red blood cells. It is encoded by the G6PD gene and is primarily responsible for the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), a molecule that helps protect cells from damage caused by oxygen radicals.
G6PD deficiency, also known as G6PDD, is an inherited condition where an individual lacks or has reduced levels of G6PD enzyme activity. This deficiency primarily affects red blood cells, leading to their vulnerability to oxidative stress and subsequent destruction. Consequently, G6PD deficiency can result in hemolytic anemia, a condition characterized by the premature destruction of red blood cells.
The deficiency can be triggered by various factors, such as certain medications (e.g., antimalarials, sulfonamides), infections, certain foods (e.g., fava beans), or exposure to certain chemicals and toxins. Symptoms of G6PD deficiency can include fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), dark urine, and, in severe cases, hemolytic crises.
To diagnose G6PD deficiency, blood tests are conducted to measure the enzyme activity. While there is no specific cure for G6PD deficiency, individuals are generally advised to avoid triggers that can cause a hemolytic crisis. In cases where severe anemia occurs, blood transfusions may be necessary.
It is important for individuals with G6PD deficiency to be aware of their condition and take necessary precautions to prevent episodes of hemolytic anemia.
The etymology of the term "G6PD" refers to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. "G6PD" is actually an abbreviation of the full enzyme name.
Etymologically, "glucose" refers to a type of sugar that is a primary source of energy for the body. "Phosphate" refers to a chemical compound that contains phosphorus. "Dehydrogenase" is a type of enzyme that drives the removal of hydrogen atoms from molecules.
Therefore, "glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase" specifically refers to an enzyme that catalyzes the removal of hydrogen atoms from glucose-6-phosphate molecules.