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Am J Physiol. 1976 Oct;231(4):1068-73.

Glutamine synthetase and glutamyltransferase in the kidney of man, dog, and rat.


Glutamine synthetase (GS) is known to exist in the kidney of the rat, guinea pig, rabbit, and sheep but not in that of the dog, pig, cat, or pigeon. No data is available in man. Assay of histologically normal renal tissue obtained in human subjects during surgery for abdominal vascular disease failed to demonstrate significant GS activity. In addition, L-glutamine gamma-glutamyltransferase (GT) activity was also very low. The same results were observed in the dog, in which both GS and GT activities did not exceed 15% of those found in the kidney of the normal rat. In the latter animal both GS and GT activities are higher in the outer medulla (312 and 1,165 mumol/h per g wet wt, respectively) than in the cortex (230 and 844, respectively). During metabolic acidosis, GT activity did not change but GS activity decreased in the outer medulla by 40%. When renal cortex slices from normal rats were incubated in the presence of ammonia, glutamate, and octanoate (as a source of ATP), net synthesis of glutamine was readily demonstrated in contrast to slices from normal DOGS. The present studies demonstrate that the kidney of man, like that of the dog, is devoid of significant glutamine synthetase and glutamine gamma-glutamyltransferase activities. In the rat, we have confirmed the functional significance of GS activity in the kidney. We have also shown that renal GT activity is ammoniagenic in vitro in this animal, but the contribution of this system to total ammonia production in vivo remains to be demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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