1. Iron-overloaded spleens from thalassaemic subjects showed a greatly increased susceptibility to free-radical oxidation (peroxidation) in vitro.

2. Iron content was the main but not the only variable governing susceptibility. Added ascorbate had a dose-dependent action either as an antioxidant or as a pro-oxidant, the direction of its effect depending mainly on the degree of iron overload. This has therapeutic implications.

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