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FASEB J. 1999 Jul;13(10):1169-83.

Regulation of hepatic glutathione synthesis: current concepts and controversies.

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USC Liver Disease Research Center, Department of Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


Glutathione (GSH) is an important intracellular peptide with multiple functions ranging from antioxidant defense to modulation of cell proliferation. GSH is synthesized in the cytosol of all mammalian cells in a tightly regulated manner. The major determinants of GSH synthesis are the availability of cysteine, the sulfur amino acid precursor, and the activity of the rate-limiting enzyme, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS). In the liver, major factors that determine the availability of cysteine are diet, membrane transport activities of the three sulfur amino acids cysteine, cystine and methionine, and the conversion of methionine to cysteine via the trans-sulfuration pathway. Many conditions alter GSH level via changes in GCS activity and GCS gene expression. These include oxidative stress, activators of Phase II detoxifying enzymes, antioxidants, drug-resistant tumor cell lines, hormones, cell proliferation, and diabetes mellitus. Since the molecular cloning of GCS, much has been learned about the regulation of this enzyme. Both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms modulate the activity of this critical cellular enzyme.--Lu, S. C. Regulation of hepatic glutathione synthesis: current concepts and controversies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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