Oral administration of a glutamine-enriched diet before or after endotoxin challenge in aged rats has limited effects

M C Farges, M P Bérard, F Raul, J P Cézard, B Joly, P Davot, M P Vasson, L Cynober
Journal of Nutrition 1999, 129 (10): 1799-806
Numerous studies indicate beneficial effects of glutamine (Gln) in many models of catabolic adult rats. No data were available for aged rats. The effects of oral L-Gln-enriched diet were tested in endotoxemic 24-mo old rats. First, rats received for 7 d (from d0 to d7) an oral diet supplemented with either L-Gln [1g/(kg. d)] or casein (Cas: isonitrogenous supply) prior to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. The rats were then killed after 24 h food deprivation (from d7 to d8). Endotoxemia induced a catabolic response as shown by muscle glutamine depletion, hyperphenylalaninemia, small bowel atrophy and impaired functionality and bacterial translocation. The Gln-enriched diet did not prevent muscle Gln depletion but significantly (P </= 0.05) enhanced plantaris protein content by 18% compared to the Cas-LPS rats and reduced the plasma phenylalanine-to-tyrosine ratio (1.32 +/- 0.05 vs. 1.54 +/- 0.10, respectively, P </= 0.01). Gut translocation and histomorphology were unaffected by diet. However, Gln pretreatment reduced the fall in sucrase and glucoamylase activities in the ileum, respectively, by 55 and 63% vs. Cas supplementation (P </= 0.05). In a second study, after endotoxin challenge, healthy 24-mo-old rats were then food-deprived for 2 d (from d0 to d2), received a nonpurified diet for 4 d (from d2 to d6), and then Cas or L-Gln-supplemented diet for 7 d (from d6 to d13). No beneficial effects of Gln supplementation were observed except an increase of 50 and 56% in sucrase and glucoamylase activities in the ileum of Gln-treated rats, (P </= 0.01 vs. healthy rats). In conclusion, the effects of L-Gln supplementation in aged endotoxemic rats were limited.

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