Information About Cysteine (Cystine) Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Cysteine and Cystine are antioxidants which have an extremely important function of detoxifying extremely harmful toxins. Both of these antioxidants help to protect our body from damage through radiation. The antioxidants also have an extremely important function of protecting the brain and the liver from harmful effects of excessive alcohol, drugs and other toxic compounds which cause damage to the body.

These antioxidants are used to treat arteries that have been hardened. The antioxidants may even be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. If you have had severe burns, the antioxidants help recover from them and also help protect the body from infections.

Importance of Cystine

Cystine also helps in the oxidation of fats, promoting the processing of fats and building of muscles. It also helps slow down the process of ageing, allowing you to look younger for a longer period of time. Even the skin and the hair are made up of these two antioxidants. It is estimated that they constitute about 10-14% of the skin and hair.

There is also a genetic disorder which amperes the transport of cystine. This rare genetic disorder is known as cystine urea. Since the body is not able to transport the amino acid, the urine cyctine levels begin to increase. Due to this increase in the levels of cystine, there may be formations of cystine kidney stones.

What is Cystinuria?

Cystinuria, or the inability of the body to transport cystine, is an extremely common condition and one of the most common defect in the transportation of the amino acids. Since this is least soluble amino acids in the body, it is not unusual for it to precipitate in urine, forming stones in the kidneys and the urinary tract.

If the stones are small, they may be passed in the urine. However, if the stones are large, the outflow of urine may get impaired. Sometimes, some stones may even reach the ureter by flowing out from the kidney. Once they reach the ureter, they may get lodged there and completely block the flow of urine.

Reasons for Conducting a Cystine Test

The test for cystine is conducted in order to find out whether a person is suffering from cystinuria. A urine sample is taken for this test and the amount of cystine in the urine is checked in the lab. Complications such as the lodging of stones in the ureter and the inability to pass urine may be diagnosed using this test. If the ureter is blocked and the person is not able to pass urine, it may also cause repeated urinary tract infections.