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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 May;34(5):439-58.

Glutamine and its relationship with intracellular redox status, oxidative stress and cell proliferation/death.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, s/n 29071 Málaga, Spain.


Glutamine is a multifaceted amino acid used for hepatic urea synthesis, renal ammoniagenesis, gluconeogenesis in both liver and kidney, and as a major respiratory fuel for many cells. Decreased glutamine concentrations are found during catabolic stress and are related to susceptibility to infections. Besides, glutamine is not only an important energy source in mitochondria, but is also a precursor of the brain neurotransmitter glutamate, which is likewise used for biosynthesis of the cellular antioxidant glutathione. Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anions and hydrogen peroxide, function as intracellular second messengers activating, among others, apoptosis, whereas glutamine is an apoptosis suppressor. In fact, it could contribute to block apoptosis induced by exogenous agents or by intracellular stimuli. In conclusion, this article shows evidences for the important role of glutamine in the regulation of the cellular redox balance, including brain oxidative metabolism, apoptosis and tumour cell proliferation.

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