S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe): from the bench to the bedside--molecular basis of a pleiotrophic molecule

Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1151S-7S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76/5.1151S.


S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), a metabolite present in all living cells, plays a central role in cellular biochemistry as a precursor to methylation, aminopropylation, and transsulfuration pathways. As such, SAMe has been studied extensively since its chemical structure was first described in 1952. Decades of research on the biochemical and molecular roles of SAMe in cellular metabolism have provided an extensive foundation for its use in clinical studies, including those on depression, dementia, vacuolar myelopathy, liver disease, and osteoarthritis. This article provides an overview of the biochemical, molecular, and therapeutic effects of this pleiotrophic molecule.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy
  • Methylation
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / chemistry
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / pharmacokinetics
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / physiology*
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / therapeutic use*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • S-Adenosylmethionine