Review article: S-adenosyl-L-methionine--a new therapeutic agent in liver disease?

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1993 Feb;7(1):21-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.1993.tb00065.x.


The established biochemical effects of exogenous S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) are diverse and are still being explored in liver disease. Putative therapeutic effects could be exerted via different mechanisms. The established deficiency of SAMe synthetase in cirrhosis could by bypassed by exogenous SAMe, leading to increased levels of sulphur-containing amino acids and glutathione which would protect against oxidant stress and drug-induced hepatotoxicity (for example, paracetamol). Furthermore SAMe could act by improving membrane fluidity, and thus potentially improve or restore the function of receptors, enzymes and transporters in the cell surface. Membrane fluidity is known to be affected by alterations in cell membrane lipid composition in chronic liver disease. Very few therapeutic agents are effective for the symptomatic or specific treatment of chronic liver disease. SAMe has established biochemical and biophysical effects which in pilot studies ameliorate symptoms and biochemical parameters of cholestasis. Moreover, abnormalities in liver function tests (including transaminase values) also improve. Before SAMe can be considered as an established therapy for patients with hepatic disease, long-term controlled clinical trials of SAMe are needed to assess the benefit for patients' symptoms, well being, histological changes and progression of liver disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / therapeutic use*


  • S-Adenosylmethionine