Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid of the human body. Besides its role as a constituent of proteins and its importance in amino acid transamination, glutamine has regulatory capacity in immune and cell modulation. Glutamine deprivation reduces proliferation of lymphocytes, influences expression of surface activation markers on lymphocytes and monocytes, affects the production of cytokines, and stimulates apoptosis. Moreover, glutamine administration seems to have a positive effect on glucose metabolism in the state of insulin resistance. Glutamine influences a variety of different molecular pathways. Glutamine stimulates the formation of heat shock protein 70 in monocytes by enhancing the stability of mRNA, influences the redox potential of the cell by enhancing the formation of glutathione, induces cellular anabolic effects by increasing the cell volume, activates mitogen-activated protein kinases, and interacts with particular aminoacyl-transfer RNA synthetases in specific glutamine-sensing metabolism. Glutamine is applied under clinical conditions as an oral, parenteral, or enteral supplement either as the single amino acid or in the form of glutamine-containing dipeptides for preventing mucositis/stomatitis and for preventing glutamine-deficiency in critically ill patients. Because of the high turnover rate of glutamine, even high amounts of glutamine up to a daily administration of 30 g can be given without any important side effects.
Erich Roth Nonnutritive Effects of Glutamine1 Journal of Nutrition 2008 October Surgical Research Laboratories, Medical University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria