Increased free-cystine content of fibroblasts cultured from patients with cystinosis

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1967 Nov 30;29(4):527-31. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(67)90516-5.


The presence of a significantly increased content of free-cystine in skin fibroblasts from both homozygotes and heterozygotes for cystinosis emphasizes the central role of cystine in this disease, even though the primary defect responsible for cystine accumulation is yet to be determined. The studies described in this communication provide evidence that cystine is compartmentalized in a subcellular location in cystinotic cells. In fact, the very growth of cystinotic fibroblasts in the presence more than 100 times the usual content of free-cystine is evidence that the accumulated cystine is not freely dispersed throughout the cell, since would otherwise inhibit many enzymes requiring free sulfhydryl groups for activity (Patrick, 1965). We have no evidence as to whether the cystine is located in a known subcellular organelle or in a previously unrecognized location. Skin fibroblasts may provide a convenient tool to pursue these questions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cystine / metabolism*
  • Cystinosis / metabolism*
  • Cystinosis / pathology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Genetic Carrier Screening
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Subcellular Fractions / pathology


  • Cystine