Open Access
Regulation of protein metabolism by glutamine: implications for nutrition and health
Pengbin Xi1,Zongyong Jiang1,Chuntian Zheng1,Yingcai Lin1,Guoyao Wu1
Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science South China and Institute of Animal Science, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Tianhe District, Wushan Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong, PR China.
DOI: 10.2741/3707 Volume 16 Issue 2, pp.578-597
Published: 01 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

Glutamine is the most abundant free alpha-amino acid in plasma and skeletal muscle. This nutrient plays an important role in regulating gene expression, protein turnover, anti-oxidative function, nutrient metabolism, immunity, and acid-base balance. Interestingly, intracellular and extracellular concentrations of glutamine exhibit marked reductions in response to infection, sepsis, severe burn, cancer, and other pathological factors. This raised an important question of whether glutamine may be a key mediator of muscle loss and negative nitrogen balance in critically ill and injured patients. Therefore, since the initial reports in late 1980s that glutamine could stimulate protein synthesis and inhibit proteolysis in rat skeletal muscle, there has been growing interest in the use of this functional amino acid to improve protein balance under various physiological and disease conditions. Although inconsistent results have appeared in the literature regarding a therapeutic role of glutamine in clinical medicine, a majority of studies indicate that supplementing appropriate doses of glutamine to enteral diets or parenteral solutions is beneficial for improving nitrogen balance in animals or humans with glutamine deficiency.

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Pengbin Xi, Zongyong Jiang, Chuntian Zheng, Yingcai Lin, Guoyao Wu. Regulation of protein metabolism by glutamine: implications for nutrition and health. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2011. 16(2); 578-597.