Extracellular thiols and thiol/disulfide redox in metabolism

Annu Rev Nutr. 2004;24:481-509. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.24.012003.132208.


Many proteins present on cell surfaces and located in extracellular fluids contain cysteine and methionine residues that are subject to oxidation. These proteins, which include transporters, receptors, and enzymes, respond to variations in the extracellular thiol/disulfide redox environment. Changes in activity of these proteins can alter the ability of organs to function normally and influence processes such as nutritional absorption, secretory function, neurotransmission, and susceptibility to toxicants. In addition, extracellular redox can regulate tissue homeostasis through effects on cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and immune function. Consequently, extracellular redox can have important influences on health status and disease states and thus could be a target for nutritional interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Disulfides / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism*


  • Disulfides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds