Inhibition of glutathione synthesis in the liver leads to S-adenosyl-L-methionine synthetase reduction

Hepatology. 1991 Sep;14(3):528-33.


The hepatic levels of glutathione in rats treated with buthionine sulfoximine (4 mmol/kg), an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, were 72.5% +/- 4.9% of those determined in control animals. This decrease in glutathione concentration was prevented by the administration of glutathione monoethyl ester (7.5 mmol/kg). S-Adenosyl-L-methionine-synthetase activity in the liver of rats treated with buthionine sulfoximine was 39.4% +/- 6.5% of that determined in control animals. Again, glutathione monoethyl ester prevented the effect of buthionine sulfoximine on S-adenosyl-L-methionine-synthetase activity. There was a close correlation (r = 0.936) between the hepatic levels of glutathione and S-adenosyl-L-methionine-synthetase activity. The hepatic concentration of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in buthionine sulfoximine-treated animals was 59.7% +/- 3.7% of that measured in control rats. Contrasting with the protective effects mentioned above, glutathione monoester had no preventive action on buthionine sulfoximine-induced S-adenosyl-L-methionine depletion. Electron microscopic examination of liver samples of rats after buthionine sulfoximine administration showed evidence of liver degeneration, which was attenuated by glutathione monoethyl ester treatment. Glutathione (7.5 mmol/kg) treatment was less effective than glutathione monoethyl ester in attenuating buthionine sulfoximine effects on hepatic S-adenosyl-L-methionine metabolism and morphology. The reduction of S-adenosyl-L-methionine-synthetase activity observed after treatment with buthionine sulfoximine and its prevention by glutathione monoethyl ester, as well as the correlation between the activity of this enzyme and glutathione levels, indicate that glutathione plays an important role in maintaining S-adenosyl-L-methionine-synthetase activity in the liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites / pharmacology
  • Buthionine Sulfoximine
  • Glutathione / analogs & derivatives
  • Glutathione / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glutathione / biosynthesis*
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Methionine Adenosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Methionine Sulfoximine / analogs & derivatives
  • Methionine Sulfoximine / pharmacology
  • Mitochondria, Liver / ultrastructure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Antimetabolites
  • Methionine Sulfoximine
  • Acetaminophen
  • Buthionine Sulfoximine
  • S-ethyl glutathione
  • Methionine Adenosyltransferase
  • Glutathione