The relationship between the renal reabsorption of cysteine and the lowered urinary pH in diabetics

Susumu Ogawa, Junko Takiguchi, Manami Shimizu, Kazuhiro Nako, Masashi Okamura, Yoshitaka Kinouchi, Sadayoshi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background/aims: In diabetic patients, reduced urinary pH (UpH) is a predictive factor for cardiorenal-vascular disorders. Synthesis of glutathione, an anti-oxidative stress substance, is induced to counteract renal oxidative stress. UpH declines as glutamate is consumed, as does the synthesis of ammonia from glutamate. Glutathione is synthesized from glutamate and cysteine; however, in diabetes, the relationship between lowered UpH and the roles of renal amino acids is unknown. We, therefore, examined the relationship between amino-acid kinetics, UpH, and renal function. Methods: This cross-sectional study targeted 100 non-diabetic obese individuals (OG: obese group) and 100 diabetics (DG: diabetic group). We investigated their blood amino acids, urinary amino-acid excretion, the reabsorption rates of various amino acids, and their relationship with the UpH and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Results: The DG subjects showed higher blood cysteine concentration, urinary glutamate, and cysteine excretions than the OG subjects. Although the glutamate reabsorption rate declined in the DG subjects, that of cysteine increased due to the lowered eGFR. The DG subjects’ urinary cysteine excretion correlated positively with UpH, making this urinary cysteine excretion the sole independent risk factor for lower UpH. Conclusion: In patients with diabetes, the reabsorbed amount of cysteine, not glutamate, regulates the amount of glutathione synthesis in the kidneys. The more an amount of cysteine reabsorption increases concurrently with a decline in eGFR, the more its urinary excretion decreases. Under these conditions, concurrently, the glutamate consumption then increases, resulting in decreased ammonia synthesis and UpH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1052
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Nephrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1


  • Cysteine
  • Glutamate
  • Oxidative stress
  • Urinary pH


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