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Molecules. 2014 Jun 19;19(6):8334-49. doi: 10.3390/molecules19068334.

Sulfur amino acids in diet-induced fatty liver: a new perspective based on recent findings.

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Cytoregulation Research, Elgin, ON K0G 1E0, Canada.


The relationship of sulfur amino acids to diet-induced fatty liver was established 80 years ago, with cystine promoting the condition and methionine preventing it. This relationship has renewed importance today because diet-induced fatty liver is relevant to the current epidemics of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Two recent papers provide the first evidence linking sulfane sulfur to diet-induced fatty liver opening a new perspective on the problem. This review summarizes the early data on sulfur amino acids in fatty liver and correlates that data with current knowledge of sulfur metabolism. Evidence is reviewed showing that the lipotropic effect of methionine may be mediated by sulfane sulfur and that the hepatosteatogenic effect of cystine may be related to the removal of sulfane sulfur by cysteine catabolites. Possible preventive and therapeutic strategies are discussed.

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