1. Erythrocyte 2,3-diphosphoglycerate and haemoglobin A1C concentrations were measured in 26 clinically normoxic patients with type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus. The concentration of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate theoretically required to maintain normal erythrocyte oxygen delivery function in each subject was calculated and compared with the measured concentrations.
2. In the majority of diabetic patients 2,3-diphosphoglycerate concentrations were sufficient to keep the erythrocyte oxygen dissociation curve within the normal range under otherwise normal blood conditions. There was, however, a minority of patients in which this was not true.
3. It is concluded that the increased erythrocyte 2,3-diphosphoglycerate concentrations in clinically normoxic diabetic subjects are generally less than compensatory for the effect of haemoglobin A1C formation on the haemoglobin-oxygen dissociation curve.