Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1148S-50S.

S-Adenosylmethionine: molecular, biological, and clinical aspects--an introduction.

Author information

Section of Liver Disease and Nutrition, Bronx VA Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY 10468, USA.


In clinical research, a novel approach has emerged: some of the essential nutrients are being used to treat pathologic conditions. Many of these nutrients, including methionine, must first be activated in the liver or in other tissues before they can exert their key functions. However, this activating process is impaired in disease states and, as a consequence, nutritional requirements change. For instance, for methionine to act as the main cellular methyl donor, it must first be activated to S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe; also known as ademethionine). SAMe is required and is of fundamental importance for the metabolism of nucleic acids and polyamines, the structure and function of membranes, and as a precursor of glutathione. These processes are often seriously altered in various pathologic states addressed in this symposium, but they cannot be restored by simply administering methionine. For instance, in liver disease associated with impairment of the enzyme that activates methionine to SAMe, supplementation with methionine is useless and may even become toxic as it accumulates because it is not used. Accordingly, one must correct the lack of SAMe by bypassing the deficiency in enzyme activation; this is done by providing the product of the defective reaction, namely SAMe. Under these pathologic conditions, SAMe becomes crucial for the functioning of the cell. Thus SAMe, which is found in all living organisms, becomes the essential nutrient instead of methionine. This symposium reviewed the biological and corresponding molecular aspects of SAMe metabolism and the clinical consequences of its deficiency or supplementation in various tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center