Excess dietary cystine intensifies the adverse effect of a methionine deficiency in the cat

M. J. Strieker, A. Werner, James Morris, Quinton Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Foot pad dermatitis has been observed in turkeys, puppies and kittens fed diets deficient in methionine. Excess cystine aggravated the lesions and decreased body weight gain in puppies and turkeys. The objective of this study was to determine whether methionine deficiency induced perioral and foot pad lesions in kittens and whether excess cystine exacerbated the lesions. Eighteen kittens were divided into three groups and offered one of three diets: diet 1, low-methionine, low-cystine (LMLC; 1.6 g methionine and 1.6 g cystine/kg diet); diet 2, low-methionine, high-cystine (HMHC; 1.6 methionine and 15 g cystine/kg diet); diet 3, high-methionine, high-cystine (HMHC; 15 g methionine and 15 g cystine/kg diet). Kittens in the LMLC group lost body weight, whereas those in the LMHC group maintained their body weight and those in the HMHC group gained weight. Plasma methionine concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.001) for the HMHC group than for the LMLC and LMHC groups. Plasma cyst(e)ine (sum of cysteine and cystine) concentrations were different (p < 0.001) among all the three groups. Two kittens given the LMLC diet developed mild perioral lesions. All kittens receiving the LMHC diet developed foot pad lesions and severe perioral lesions. Histopathological changes observed in perioral biopsy specimens were similar to those described in protein deficiency. In conclusion, the results showed that a diet severely deficient in methionine causes perioral lesions in kittens, and that addition of excess cystine to the diet aggravates the perioral lesions and also causes foot pad lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-445
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Cat
  • Cystine
  • Feline
  • Methionine deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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