Amelioration of oxidative stress in red blood cells from patients with beta-thalassemia major and intermedia and E-beta-thalassemia following administration of a fermented papaya preparation

Phytother Res. 2010 Sep;24(9):1334-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3116.


In beta-hemoglobinopathies, such as beta-thalassemia (thal) and sickle cell anemia, the primary defects are mutations in the beta-globin gene. However, many aspects of the pathophysiology are mediated by oxidative stress. Fermented papaya preparation (FPP), a natural health food product obtained by biofermentation of carica papaya, has been shown to limit oxidative stress both in vitro and in vivo. We studied the effect of FPP on two groups of beta-thal patients: beta-thal, major and intermedia, (in Israel) and E-beta-thal (in Singapore). The results indicated that in both groups FPP treatment increased the content of reduced glutathione (GSH) in red blood cells (RBC), and decreased their reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, membrane lipid peroxidation, and externalization of phosphatidylserine (PS), indicating amelioration of their oxidative status, without a significant change in the hematological parameters. Since the turnover of the erythron is relatively slow, it is possible that longer duration of treatment, probably with the addition of an iron chelator, is required in order to achieve the latter goals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Carica*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Fruit
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / blood
  • Singapore
  • beta-Thalassemia / blood
  • beta-Thalassemia / drug therapy*


  • Antioxidants
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Plant Preparations
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Glutathione