Amino Acids

, Volume 47, Issue 10, pp 2143–2154 | Cite as

Glutamine and intestinal barrier function

  • Bin Wang
  • Guoyao Wu
  • Zhigang Zhou
  • Zhaolai Dai
  • Yuli Sun
  • Yun Ji
  • Wei Li
  • Weiwei Wang
  • Chuang Liu
  • Feng Han
  • Zhenlong Wu
Review Article

Abstract

The intestinal barrier integrity is essential for the absorption of nutrients and health in humans and animals. Dysfunction of the mucosal barrier is associated with increased gut permeability and development of multiple gastrointestinal diseases. Recent studies highlighted a critical role for glutamine, which had been traditionally considered as a nutritionally non-essential amino acid, in activating the mammalian target of rapamycin cell signaling in enterocytes. In addition, glutamine has been reported to enhance intestinal and whole-body growth, to promote enterocyte proliferation and survival, and to regulate intestinal barrier function in injury, infection, weaning stress, and other catabolic conditions. Mechanistically, these effects were mediated by maintaining the intracellular redox status and regulating expression of genes associated with various signaling pathways. Furthermore, glutamine stimulates growth of the small intestinal mucosa in young animals and also enhances ion transport by the gut in neonates and adults. Growing evidence supports the notion that glutamine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for neonates and a conditionally essential amino acid for adults. Thus, as a functional amino acid with multiple key physiological roles, glutamine holds great promise in protecting the gut from atrophy and injury under various stress conditions in mammals and other animals.

Keywords

Glutamine Intestinal barrier function Nutrition 

Abbreviations

ASCT2

Neutral amino acid transporter type 2

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

BSO

Buthionine sulfoximine

DP

Dipeptidase

EAA

Essential amino acids

4EBP1

Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein-1

eIF4E

Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E

FOXO

Forkhead box O transcription factor

GA

GlutaminaseGALT gut-associated lymphatic tissue

GCL

Glutamate cysteine ligase

GS

Glutamine synthetase

GSH

Glutathione

GSS

Glutathione synthetase

GSSG

Glutathione disulfide

γ-GT

γ-Glutamyl transpeptidase

Ig

Immunoglobulin

IκB

Inhibitor of NF-κB

α-KG

α-Ketoglutarate

IUGR

Intrauterine growth restriction

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinases

MS

Methionine sulfoximine

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

mTORC

mTOR complex

NADH

Reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide

NADPH

Reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate

NF-κB

Nuclear factor-κB

NO

Nitric oxide

NOS

NO synthase

p70S6k

p70 Ribosomal protein S6 kinase

PI3K

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase

PKB/AKT

Protein kinase B

PPP

Pentose phosphate pathway

Rheb

Ras homologue enriched in brain

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

RTK

Receptor tyrosine kinase

SNAT2

Sodium coupled neutral amino acid transporter 2

TCL

Tricarboxylic acid cycle

TNF-α

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha

TPN

Total parenteral nutrition

Trx

Reduced thioredoxin

TrxSS

Oxidized thioredoxin

TSC

Tuberous sclerosis complex

ZO-1

Zonula occludens protein 1

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bin Wang
    • 1
  • Guoyao Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhigang Zhou
    • 3
  • Zhaolai Dai
    • 1
  • Yuli Sun
    • 1
  • Yun Ji
    • 1
  • Wei Li
    • 1
  • Weiwei Wang
    • 1
  • Chuang Liu
    • 1
  • Feng Han
    • 1
  • Zhenlong Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and TechnologyChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of AgricultureFeed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

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