Sample processing alters glutathione and cysteine values in blood

Betty J. Mills, John P. Richie, Calvin A. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The accurate assessment of glutathione status of blood is essential for its use as an index of health and aging. A major variable in glutathione analysis is sample processing, and identification of optimal standard conditions is needed. Thus our objective was to evaluate several methods to determine which one yields maximal levels of free and bound glutathione and cyst(e)ine in blood. Reduced glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), cysteine (Cys), and cystine were analyzed specifically by an HPLC-dual electrochemical method. The highest GSH levels were found in ultrafiltrates of hemolysates, which were 58% greater than those in acid extracts of whole blood, and accounted for 96% of the free and bound GSH in borohydride-reduced samples; GSSG was undetected. The next highest values were in acid extracts of hemolysates which were 13% greater than in extracts of whole blood; both extracts contained GSH and GSSG. Their GSSG contents expressed in GSH equivalents comprised 7-9% of GSH + GSSG. Cys levels were highest in ultrafiltrates which were 11-fold greater than in acid extracts of whole blood, accounting for 62% of the total cyst(e)ine pool. In summary, the results indicate that ultrafiltration of hemolysates is the blood processing method of choice to obtain maximal values of free and bound GSH and cyst(e)ine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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