Effects of oral S-adenosyl-L-methionine on hepatic glutathione in patients with liver disease

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1989 May;24(4):407-15. doi: 10.3109/00365528909093067.


S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a physiologic precursor of thiols and sulfurated compounds, which are known to be decreased in patients with liver disease. The effect of its administration on the hepatic glutathione content of liver patients was investigated. Four groups of subjects were selected: a) 9 patients with alcoholic liver disease treated with SAMe (1.2 g/day orally for 6 months); b) 7 patients with non-alcoholic liver disease treated as above; c) 8 placebo-treated patients with alcoholic liver disease; and d) 15 normal subjects as a control group. Total and oxidized glutathione were assayed by high-performance liquid chromatography of liver biopsy specimens before and after the treatment period. In all patients pre-treatment hepatic glutathione was significantly decreased as compared with controls. SAMe therapy resulted in a significant increase of hepatic glutathione levels both in patients with alcoholic and in those with non-alcoholic liver diseases as compared with placebo-treated patients. SAMe may therefore exert an important role in reversing hepatic glutathione depletion in patients with liver disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / drug therapy
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / administration & dosage*
  • Tablets


  • Tablets
  • S-Adenosylmethionine
  • Glutathione