The effect of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) on S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), and sulfur amino acid metabolism was examined in human lung epithelial-like (A549) cells exposed to various CSE concentrations (2.5-100%) for 24 or 48h. Intracellular SAM and SAM/SAH ratio were elevated after exposure to CSE for 48h. Cell SAH content decreased, but the effect was not consistent. Cellular cystathionine, cysteine, and methionine levels were increased after CSE exposure for 48h. Sub-acute exposure to CSE induced increases in cellular SAM and SAM/SAH ratio. The transsulfuration pathway was likely activated by CSE since cystathionine increased, potentially contributing to the increased total intracellular GSH content. © 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.