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Gastroenterology. 1991 Mar;100(3):683-91.

L-glutamine stimulates jejunal sodium and chloride absorption in pig rotavirus enteritis.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Rotavirus enteritis is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants worldwide. A research priority of the World Health Organization is to develop oral rehydration solutions containing amino acids or other additives that will stimulate intestinal absorption more efficiently than the current glucose-based oral rehydration solutions. Glutamine is the principal metabolic fuel of the small bowel and a putative stimulator of mucosal repair. This report describes the transport response to mucosal L-glutamine following intestinal injury caused by porcine rotavirus. Peak symptoms and mucosal damage were observed 2-7 days after oral rotavirus inoculation. In vitro transport studies of the maximally injured region, the midjejunum (80% reduction in lactase), surprisingly, showed transport responses to L-glutamine (30 mmol/L) and L-alanine (30 mmol/L) that were similar qualitatively and quantitatively to those observed in control tissue. Subsequent application of mucosal D-glucose (30 mmol/L) caused additional stimulation of electrogenic Na+ transport, but the response to glucose was blunted (P less than 0.05) in the infected tissues. Glutamine and alanine enhanced Na+ absorption to a similar degree (2-2.5, but glutamine stimulated equal amounts of electrogenic and electroneutral NaCl absorption, whereas alanine had no significant effect on net Cl- flux. Glutamine is a potentially useful substrate for investigation in oral rehydration solutions for infant diarrhea.

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