Small Intestinal Absorption of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and Accumulation of the Sulfur Moiety in Selected Tissues of Mice

Nutrients. 2017 Dec 25;10(1):19. doi: 10.3390/nu10010019.


The principal dietary sources of sulfur, the amino acids methionine and cysteine, may not always be consumed in adequate amounts to meet sulfur requirements. The naturally occurring organosulfur compound, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is available as a dietary supplement and has been associated with multiple health benefits. Absorption of MSM by the small intestine and accumulation of the associated sulfur moiety in selected tissues with chronic (8 days) administration were evaluated using juvenile male mice. Intestinal absorption was not saturated at 50 mmol, appeared passive and carrier-independent, with a high capacity (at least 2 g/d-mouse). The 35S associated with MSM did not increase in serum or tissue homogenates between days 2 and 8, indicating a stable equilibrium between intake and elimination was established. In contrast, proteins isolated from the preparations using gel electrophoresis revealed increasing incorporation of 35S in the protein fraction of serum, cellular elements of blood, liver, and small intestine but not skeletal muscle. The potential contributions of protein synthesis using labeled sulfur amino acids synthesized by the gut bacteria and posttranslational sulfation of proteins by incorporation of the labeled sulfate of MSM in 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS) and subsequent transfer by sulfotransferases are discussed.

Keywords: DMSO2; dimethyl sulfone; methyl sulfone; methylsulfonylmethane; posttranslational; supplement.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / blood
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phosphoadenosine Phosphosulfate / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Sulfones / blood
  • Sulfones / metabolism*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Sulfones
  • Phosphoadenosine Phosphosulfate
  • dimethyl sulfone
  • PAPS sulfotransferase
  • Sulfotransferases
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide