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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1988 Aug;66(8):1048-52.

The effect of dietary protein and sulfur amino acids on hepatic glutathione concentration and glutathione-dependent enzyme activities in the rat.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, Ont., Canada.


Hepatic glutathione concentration and glutathione-dependent enzymes, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase, are important for protection against toxic compounds. Rats were fed diets containing 4, 7.5, 15, or 45% protein for 2 weeks. Glutathione and cysteine concentrations in rats fed the 4 and 7.5% protein diets were significantly lower (p less than 0.05) than in rats fed the 15 and 45% protein diets. Glutathione S-transferase activity increased with increasing dietary protein. Glutathione peroxidase activity was significantly lower (p less than 0.05) in rats fed 4 and 7.5% protein compared with rats fed 15 and 45% protein, whereas the activity of glutathione reductase was higher in rats fed 4 and 7.5% protein then in rats fed 15 or 45% protein. Dietary sulfur amino acids alone could account for the increase in glutathione concentration resulting from the increase in dietary protein from 7.5 to 15%. The limited availability of glutathione in animals fed the low protein diets could reduce the potential for detoxification of xenobiotics.

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