Cysteine is considered as a conditionally indispensable amino acid. Its dietary supply should thus be increased when endogenous synthesis cannot meet metabolic need, such as during inflammatory diseases. However, studies in animal models suggest a high first-pass extraction of dietary cysteine by the intestine, limiting the interest for an oral supplementation. We investigated here unidirectional fluxes of cysteine across the portal-drained viscera (PDV) of multi-catheterized minipigs, using simultaneous intragastric l-[ 15N] cysteine and intravenous l-[3,3D2] cysteine continuous infusions. We showed that in minipigs fed with an elemental enteral solution, cysteine first-pass extraction by the intestine is about 60% of the dietary supply, and that the PDV does not capture arterial cysteine. Beside dietary cysteine, the PDV release non-dietary cysteine (20% of the total cysteine release), which originates either from tissue metabolism or from reabsorption of endogenous secretion, such as glutathione (GSH) biliary excretion. Experimental ileitis induced by local administration of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid, increased liver and ileal GSH fractional synthesis rate during the acute phase of inflammation, and increased whole body flux of cysteine. However, cysteine uptake and release by the PDV were not affected by ileitis, suggesting an adaptation of the intestinal sulfur amino acid metabolism in order to cover the additional requirement of cysteine linked to the increased GSH synthesis. We conclude that the small intestine sequesters large amounts of dietary cysteine during absorption, limiting its release into the bloodstream, and that the other tissues of the PDV (colon, stomach, pancreas, spleen) preferentially use circulating methionine or cysteine-containing peptides to cover their cysteine requirement.
- Portal-drained viscera