The hepatic synthesis and accumulation of S-adenosylhomocysteine, S-adenosylmethionine and polyamines were studied in normal and vitamin B-6-deficient male albino rats. A method involving a single chromatography on a phosphocellulose column was developed for the determination of S-adenosylhomocysteine and S-adenosylmethionine from tissue samples. Feeding the rat with pyridoxine-deficient diet for 3 or 6 weeks resulted in a four- to five-fold increase in the concentration of S-adenosylhomocysteine, whereas that of S-adenosylmethionine was only slighly elevated. The concentration of putrescine was decreased to half, that of spermidine was somewhat decreased and that of spermine remained fairly constant. The activities of L-ornithine decarboxylase, S-adenosyl-L-methionine decarboxylase, L-methionine adenosyltransferase and S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase were moderately increased. S-Adenosylmethionine decarboxylase showed no requirement for pyridoxal 5′-phosphate. The major effect of pyridoxine deficiency of S-adenosylmethionine metabolism seems to be a block in the utilization of S-adenosylhomocysteine, resulting in the accumulation of this metabolite to a concentration that may inhibit biological methylation reactions.

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