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Lancet. 1992 Jan 4;339(8784):25-6.

Abnormal sulphur oxidation in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Rheumatology, University of Birmingham, UK.


S-carboxy-L-methylcysteine was used to assess the activity of the S-oxidation pathway of sulphur metabolism in 35 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); 25 (71%) showed impaired sulphoxidation and 21 (60%) produced virtually no sulphoxides, compared with 17 (36%) and 2 (4%), respectively, of 47 healthy controls. The substrate/product ratio of cysteine oxygenase (plasma cysteine/sulphate) was significantly higher in SLE patients than in controls (median [interquartile range] 362 [224-588] vs 65 [44-111]; p less than 0.00001). The alternative pathway of sulphur metabolism, S-methylation, catalysed by thiolmethyltransferase, was not impaired in the SLE patients. There is a biochemical difference in sulphur metabolism between SLE and rheumatoid arthritis, since both pathways are impaired in the latter disorder.

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