Intestinal glutathione transport system: a possible detoxication role

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Apr 9;1073(3):571-9. doi: 10.1016/0304-4165(91)90232-6.


The epithelium of the small intestine act by the formation of GSH-S-conjugation, as a first line of defence against various ingested toxic chemicals. GSH and GSH-dependent enzymes are present in the gastrointestinal wall. We and others have characterized the GSH-specific transport systems in intestinal brush-border and in basolateral membrane vesicles, in which gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GT) activity was inactivated by AT-125. In the present study we use inhibition experiments, kinetic studies, trans-stimulation of GSH uptake and HPLC determination to demonstrate (for the first time) that GSH and two GSH-S-conjugates (chosen as model compounds) share a common transport system. Plasma GSH-S-conjugates that may enter the intestinal cells via basolateral membrane, and GSH-S-conjugates that form in intestinal cells, may be eliminated directly by this GSH transporter across brush-border membranes or transported into lumen to the active site of gamma-GT; they are then further metabolized and excreted by various routes. This transport system may thus contribute to the intestinal detoxication role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Glutathione / analogs & derivatives
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Glutathione / physiology
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inactivation, Metabolic / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Microvilli / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rabbits


  • S-(4-nitrobenzyl)glutathione
  • S-ethyl glutathione
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Glutathione