Interindividual variation and organ-specific patterns of glutathione S-transferase alpha, mu, and pi expression in gastrointestinal tract mucosa of normal individuals

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2002 Jul 15;403(2):270-6. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9861(02)00226-6.


Glutathione S-transferase (GST) protein in gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of 16 organ donors, from whom all or substantial portions of the GI tract (stomach-colon) were available, was quantitated by HPLC and examined for interindividual variability/consistency of organ-specific patterns of expression. GSTP1, GSTA1, and GSTA2 were major components, and GSTM1 and GSTM3 were minor components. Consistent patterns of organ-specific expression were evident despite a high degree of interindividual variation of expression. GSTP1 was expressed throughout the GI tract and showed a decrease of expression from stomach to colon. GSTA1 and GSTA2 were expressed at high levels in duodenum and small intestine and expression decreased from proximal to distal small intestine. In contrast, GSTA1 and GSTA2 expression in colon and stomach of all subjects was low, particularly for colon where GSTA1 expression was 20- to 800-fold lower than that in corresponding small intestine. These consistent patterns of expression would suggest that compared to duodenum and small intestine, colon and to a lesser extent stomach always have low potential for GST-dependent detoxification of chemical carcinogens and are therefore at greater risk of genotoxic effects, particularly via substrates that are specific for GSTA1. This may be a factor in the greater susceptibility of stomach and colon to cancers compared to duodenum/small intestine.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Digestive System / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / enzymology
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Specificity
  • Reference Values


  • Isoenzymes
  • GSTP1 protein, human
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1
  • glutathione S-transferase alpha