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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Jun;90(6):2403-10.

Glutamine induces heat shock protein and protects against endotoxin shock in the rat.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Enhanced expression of heat shock protein (HSP) has been shown to be protective against laboratory models of septic shock. Induction of HSPs to improve outcome in human disease has not been exploited because laboratory induction agents are themselves toxic and not clinically relevant. In this study, we demonstrate that a single dose of intravenous glutamine causes a rapid and significant increase in HSP25 and HSP72 expression in multiple organs of the unstressed Sprague-Dawley rat. With the utilization of a fluid-resuscitated rat model of endotoxemia, mortality was dramatically reduced by glutamine administration concomitant with the endotoxin injury. Endotoxin-treated animals given glutamine exhibited dramatic increases in tissue HSP expression and marked reduction of end-organ damage. These data suggest glutamine may protect against mortality and attenuate end-organ injury in endotoxemic shock via enhanced HSP expression. Furthermore, glutamine confers protection when administered at the initiation of sepsis, rather than as pretreatment. Thus glutamine appears to be a clinically viable enhancer of HSP expression and may prove beneficial in the therapy of sepsis and sepsis-induced organ injury.

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