Red blood cell glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is a key regulatory enzyme with the major role of meeting the cellular need for reductive biosynthesis and maintenance of redox status. G6PD deficiency is a common inherited enzyme defect associated with severe neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia that can result in permanent neurologic damage or death. This study was aimed at estimating the level of G6PD activity among icteric neonates to assess its usefulness in the evaluation of icteric neonates in Jos. One hundred and fifty icteric neonates (92 males and 58 females) whose parents consented were consecutively enrolled as they presented at the Special Care Baby Units (SCBU) of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Bingham University Teaching Hospital (BhUTH), and the Plateau State Specialist Hospital (PSSH), Jos. These subjects had their G6PD activity levels assayed using the Pointe Quantitative Diagnostic Kit (USA) while other relevant clinical information was obtained using a questionnaire. G6PD activity of the icteric neonates ranged between 0.54 and 24.18 IU/gHb with a mean of 8.02 ± 4.87 IU/gHb. Sixty-one (40.7 %), comprising 45 males and 16 female neonates were G6PD deficient with mean G6PD activity of 3.79 ± 1.37 IU/gHb while eighty-nine (59.3%) were G6PD normal with a mean G6PD activity of 10.92 ± 4.24 IU/gHb. G6PD activity in icteric neonates in Jos varies widely with a relatively high proportion of these neonates being G6PD deficient. Determination of G6PD activity in icteric neonates should therefore form an important evaluation tool for identification and intervention in those with the deficiency.
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