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J Nutr. 2003 Jul;133(7):2176-9.

Glutamine and barrier function in cultured Caco-2 epithelial cell monolayers.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


Dietary glutamine (Gln) has been shown to be important for maintenance of the intestinal barrier. To investigate the role of the epithelium in this Gln dependence, Caco-2 cells were raised on semipermeable membranes under conditions that model different regions of the crypt and villus. Gln availability was controlled by addition to the medium and treatment with methionine sulfoximine to inhibit Gln synthetase (GS). Barrier function was assayed by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance and fluxes of [(14)C]mannitol and fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran. The barrier function of these monolayers was found to require the Gln provided either in the medium at the apical or basal surface or via GS. However, the barrier was no more sensitive to Gln deprivation than it was to accumulation or maintenance of total protein. These results suggest that the in vivo dependence of the gut mucosal barrier on Gln likely involves roles separate from maintenance of the epithelial barrier per se.

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