Incorporation of methylsulfonylmethane sulfur into guinea pig serum proteins

Life Sci. 1986 Jul 21;39(3):263-8. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(86)90540-0.


Methionine, an essential amino acid, and cysteine are the major sulfur-containing amino acids in the body and both are thought to be synthesized predominantly in plants and micro-organisms. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a natural constituent of the environment in which it is found in plants, in milk and urine of both bovines and humans, is a normal oxidation product of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) also in the natural environment and may be part of the natural global sulfur cycle. To determine whether sulfur from methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is incorporated into sulfur amino acids, I fed 35S-MSM to guinea pigs. 35S was incorporated into peptidyl methionine and cysteine of guinea pig serum proteins. The specific activity of 35S-methionine was 30% greater than for 35S-cysteine, suggesting a precursor-product relationship. Total specific activity of serum proteins was increased by only 30% with a 100% increase of administered 35S-MSM, suggesting a limiting step in synthesis. Approximately 1% of the radioactivity was recovered in serum proteins, none in the feces and most was excreted in the urine. Microorganisms of intestinal lumen may be responsible for the incorporation of the 35S of MSM into sulfur amino acids. MSM may provide a source of sulfur for essential animal methionine by mechanisms not yet elucidated in either animals or micro-organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cysteine / metabolism*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Sulfones / metabolism*
  • Sulfur / metabolism*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Sulfones
  • Sulfur
  • dimethyl sulfone
  • Methionine
  • Cysteine
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide