13C-methionine breath tests for mitochondrial liver function assessment.

Antonio Grieco, Luca Miele, Alessandro Armuzzi, Maria Assunta Zocco, Giovanni Battista Gasbarrini, Antonio Gasbarrini, Marcello Candelli, Enrico Celestino Nista, Giulia Pignataro, Immacolata Alessia Cazzato

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10 Citations (Scopus)


13C-methionine breath test has been proposed as a non-invasive tool for the assessment of human hepatic mithocondrial function. Two methionine breath labeled with 13C in differents point of his molecular structure have been used for breath test analisys. Aim of this study was to compare two differently 13C-labeled methionines in the evaluation of mitochondrial oxidation in basal conditions and after an acute oxidative stress. 15 healthy male subjects (mean age 30.5 +/- 3.1) received [methyl-13C]-methionine dissolved in water. Breath samples were taken at baseline and and 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105 and 120 minutes after the ingestion of the labeled substrate. Forthy-eight hours later, subjects underwent the same test 30 minutes after ethanol ingestion (0,3 g/kg of body weight). Seven-day later, subjects underwent breath test using (L-methionine-1-13COOH) as substrate, in basal condition and after ethanol ingestion. At basal condition, the cumulative percentage of 13CO2 recovered in breath during the test period (%cum-dose) was higher using L-methionine-1-13COOH than [methyl-13C]-methionine (10.25 +/- 1.0 vs 4.07 +/- 0.8; p < 0.01). After ethanol ingestion, % cum dose was significantly decreased at 60 and 120 minutes with both methionines (120 min: 10.25 +/- 1.0 vs 5.03% +/- 1.8; < 0.01 and 4.07 +/- 0.8 vs 2.16% +/- 0.9; p < 0.01, respectively). However, %cum-dose during L-methionine-1-13C-breath test was significantly lower than that observed during methyl-13C-methionine breath test (120 minutes: 5.03% +/- 1.8 vs 2.16% +/- 0.9; p < 0.01). In conclusion, breath test based on L-methionine-1-13COOH seems to show a greater reliability when compared to [methyl-13C]-methionine to assess mitochondrial function because a larger amount of labeled carbon that reaches the Krebs' cicle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-249
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • breath test
  • liver
  • liver function


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