The low serum tocopherol which is characteristic of premature infants fed partially-skimmed milk mixtures is invariably associated with some degree of hemolysis of the red blood cells after exposure to H2O2in vitro. Wide fluctuations occur in the degree of hemolysis (9 to 98%) despite the constant low values found for serum tocopherol (0.2 mg./100 cc.). The administration of small daily doses of vitamin E increases the amount of blood tocopherol (approximately 0.5 mg./100 cc.) to a level where no hemolysis of the red cell occurs.

Thus, it appears that in premature infants a critical level of serum tocopherol exists, above which complete protection against hemolysis is achieved, and below which there is invariably some susceptibility of the erythrocyte to the hemolytic action of hydrogen peroxide.

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