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J Nutr. 2007 Aug;137(8):1931-7.

Dietary glutamine affects mucosal functions in rats with mild DSS-induced colitis.

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  • 1Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


The development of inflammatory bowel disease may involve immune dysfunction. Because enteral glutamine is the main source of amino acids for the intestinal mucosa and is metabolized at high rates by both enterocytes and immunocytes, the aim of this study was to ascertain the protective role of glutamine supplementation in a DSS-induced model of mild experimental colitis on metabolic, immune, and intestinal variables. Lewis rats were fed diets supplemented with glutamine (glutamine diet, G group) or an isoenergetic isonitrogenous control diet (C group) from postnatal d 21 (weaning) and continuing to d 35. On d 30, half of the rats from both groups were given 0.5% DSS in drinking water (G-DSS and C-DSS groups). Glutamine supplementation increased the plasma concentrations of Thr, Gln, Cit, His, and Arg and enhanced the ratio of essential to nonessential amino acids irrespective of DSS treatment. DSS administration increased the plasma Gln concentration, indicating a reduced utilization of this amino acid by the intestinal tissue. Regarding the gut-associated lymphoid tissue lymphocyte populations, DSS increased the percentages of CD3(+) T lymphocytes from Peyer's patches, NK and B lymphocytes from mesenteric lymph nodes, and NK CD8(-) cells from intraepithelial lymphocytes. The administration of glutamine did not affect the inductive populations nor did it modify T-cell subtypes or the percentage of intraepithelial lymphocytes of gut-associated lymphoid tissue. However, glutamine supplementation reduced the feces water contents in the DSS-treated but not in the untreated rats. These results indicate that glutamine supplementation can improve barrier function in rats with colitis.

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