The concentrations of gold in erythrocytes, whole blood, cell-rich plasma, and cell-free plasma were investigated in 17 patients with rheumatoid arthritis undergoing long-term chrysotherapy. Gold estimations were performed with a graphite tube atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Significant quantities of gold were found in isolated erythrocytes of 12 patients. There was no correlation between erythrocyte gold and therapeutic response, plasma gold, and gold in whole blood. Nor did gold in whole blood or plasma show any correlation with therapeutic responses and toxic reaction. However, all patients (3) with toxic reactions had a significantly higher gold concentration in the erythrocytes than the patients without toxic reactions. This result indicates that erythrocyte gold estimations could provide a useful warning of impeding toxic reactions.
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