BACKGROUND: Bacterial production of anionic sulphide is increased in the colon of ulcerative colitis and sulphides can cause metabolic damage to colonocytes. AIMS: To assess the reversal of the damaging effect of sulphide to isolated colonocytes by methionine and methionine derivatives. METHODS AND SUBJECTS: Isolated colonocytes were prepared from rat colons and 12 human colectomy specimens. In cell suspensions 14CO2/acetoacetate generation was measured from [1-14C]-butyrate (5.0 mmol/l) in the presence of 0-2.0 mmol/l sodium hydrogen sulphide. The effect of 5.0 mmol/l L-methionine, S-adenosylmethionine 1,4 butane disulphonate and DL-methionine-S-methylsulphonium chloride on sulphide inhibited oxidation was observed. RESULTS: In rat colonocytes sodium hydrogen sulphide dose dependently reduced oxidative metabolite formation from n-butyrate, an action reversed in order of efficacy by S-adenosylmethionine 1,4 butane disulphonate > DLmethionine-S-methyl-sulphonium chloride > L-methionine. In human colonocytes S-adenosylmethionine 1,4 butane disulphonate most significantly improved 14CO2 production (p = < 0.005) suppressed by sodium hydrogen sulphide. CONCLUSION: Sulphide toxicity in colonocytes is reversible by methyl donors. The efficiency of sulphide detoxification may be an important factor in the pathogenesis and treatment of ulcerative colitis for which S-adenosylmethionine 1,4 butane disulphonate may be of therapeutic value.
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