Dependence of glycine conjugation on availability of glycine: role of the glycine cleavage system

Xenobiotica. 1993 Feb;23(2):141-53. doi: 10.3109/00498259309059370.


1. Glycine conjugation of benzoic acid was investigated in anaesthetized rats by measuring the disappearance of benzoate from blood, and the appearance of benzoylglycine in blood and urine. 2. Administration of glycine (1-10 mmol/kg,i.v.) increased the capacity of benzoylglycine formation in a dose-dependent fashion, with a maximal rate (8.1 mumol/kg per min) occurring after administration of 5 mmol/kg glycine. The normal endogenous glycine supply (1.7 mM in liver) permits glycine conjugation only at an approximate half-maximal rate (4.5 mumol/kg/per min). 3. The increase in benzoylglycine formation in response to exogenous glycine supply is also a function of the benzoate dosage. Decreased responsiveness at high benzoate dosage indicates that the availability of coenzyme A is another factor that also limits the capacity of glycine conjugation. 4. Cysteamine (200 mg/kg, i.p.), a potent inhibitor of the mitochondrial glycine cleavage system, rapidly increased hepatic glycine concentration 2-3-fold without affecting the concentration of the other co-substrates (i.e. coenzyme A and ATP) of glycine conjugation. 5. Administration of cysteamine increased the blood clearance of benzoate by 50%, the appearance of benzoylglycine in blood, and the urinary excretion of benzoylglycine. 6. It is concluded that the activity of glycine cleavage system is an important determinant of glycine supply and, thereby, the capacity of glycine conjugation of xenobiotics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzoates / blood*
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Biological Availability
  • Biotransformation
  • Cysteamine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glycine / blood
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Glycine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Hippurates / blood*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Benzoates
  • Hippurates
  • Cysteamine
  • Benzoic Acid
  • hippuric acid
  • Glycine