Glutamine metabolism in ovine splanchnic tissues

R Nieto, T Obitsu, A Fernandez-Quintela, David Bremner, Eric Milne, Alexander Graham Calder, Gerald Lobley

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the effects of increased NH3 or amino acid supply on glutamine utilisation and production by the splanchnic tissues of fed sheep. Six sheep, prepared with vascular catheters in the aorta, mesenteric, portal and hepatic veins, were fed grass pellets to 1.1x energy maintenance requirements. Each treatment involved a 4 d abomasal infusion, of either ammonium bicarbonate (AMM; 23.4 mumol/kg(0.75) per min), water (CONT), or a mixture of amino acids that excluded glutamine and glutamate (AA; 46.8 mumol amino acid-N/kg(0.75) per min). The treatments simulated nutritional extremes in terms of the balance of absorbed N. Kinetics across the whole gut and the liver were monitored during an intra-jugular infusion of [5-N-15]glutamine. Blood flow across the whole gut or liver were unaffected by treatment. Both AMM and AA infusions doubled the hepatic release of urea-N compared with CONT (P<0.02). AA infusion decreased arterial glutamine concentration by 26 % (P<0.01) and 23 % (P<0.05) compared with AMM and CONT respectively. Despite this, whole-body glutamine flux was not affected by treatment. In contrast, AMM infusion increased hepatic glutamine production by 40 % compared with CONT (P<0.02). This provided a mechanism to ensure NH3 supply to the periphery was maintained within the normal low physiological levels. Hepatic glutamine utilisation tended to increase during AA infusion, probably to ensure equal inflows of N to the ornithine cycle. Between 6 and 10 % of NH3 absorbed across the digestive tract was derived from the amido-N of glutamine. Overall, splanchnic glutamine utilisation accounted for 45-70 % of whole-body glutamine flux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002


  • glutamine
  • N-15 kinetics
  • ureagenesis
  • ammonia
  • amino acids
  • portal-drained viscera
  • liver
  • sheep
  • nitrogen-metabolism
  • gastrointestinal-tract
  • mesenteric vein
  • rat-liver
  • fate
  • enrichment
  • transport
  • alannie


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