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August 19, 1950


JAMA. 1950;143(16):1416. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910510034012

The discovery that alloxan will produce an experimental diabetes similar to diabetes mellitus in man has proved valuable in the study of fundamental alterations in carbohydrate metabolism in this pathologic condition. Recently, the relation of sulfhydryl compounds, particularly cysteine and glutathione, to experimental alloxan diabetes has received attention. One of the first demonstrations of this relation was that of a group of workers1 at Western Reserve University, who reported that glutathione or cysteine given intravenously with alloxan prevented the development of diabetes. BAL (2,3-dimercaptopropanol) and thioglycolic acid were also effective, whereas methionine and thiourea were not.2 It was found necessary to administer the sulfhydryl compounds within one to three minutes of the injection of alloxan in order to obtain the preventive effect. These investigators3 suggest that cysteine and glutathione may reduce alloxan to dialuric acid, a nondiabetogenic substance, and thus exert the observed protective action. They further

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