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      The Effect of Glutamine Supplementation in Patients Following Elective Surgery and Accidental Injury

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      The Journal of Nutrition

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          The metabolic response to injury, whether a controlled elective surgical procedure or an accidental injury, is characterized by the breakdown of skeletal muscle protein and the translocation of the amino acids to visceral organs and the wound. At these sites, the substrate serves to enhance host defenses, and support vital organ function and wound repair. Glutamine (GLN) plays a major role in these processes, accounting for approximately one third of the translocated nitrogen. From available data, GLN-supplemented intravenous nutrition in patients undergoing elective surgery improves nitrogen balance, helps correct the decreased GLN concentration found in the free intracellular skeletal muscle amino acid pool and enhances net protein synthesis (particularly in skeletal muscle). Six randomized blind trials (two multicentered investigations) reported a decreased length in hospital stay in postoperative patients receiving GLN supplementation. After blunt trauma, GLN supplementation increased plasma concentrations, attenuated the immunosuppression commonly observed and decreased the rate of infection. Patients with burn injury have low GLN plasma and intramuscular concentrations; turnover and synthesis rate are accelerated, yet apparently inadequate to support normal concentrations. These data suggest that GLN supplementation has important effects in catabolic surgical patients, but the exact mechanisms to explain these events remain unknown, and more research is required to explain the apparent benefits of dietary GLN.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity.

          Parenteral glutamine dipeptide improves nitrogen balance in postoperative patients on total parenteral nutrition (TPM). Animal studies show that the structure and function of the gut is preserved by glutamine. It is not known if this is the case in human beings. 20 patients admitted to hospital for total parenteral nutrition were randomly allocated to receive parenteral nutrition enriched with glycyl-L-glutamine (Gln TPN), or standard parenteral nutrition (STPN). Mucosal biopsy specimens were taken from the second part of the duodenum before starting parenteral nutrition, and after two weeks. The ratio between the urine concentrations of lactulose and mannitol after enteral administration was used to measure intestinal permeability. After two weeks of parenteral nutrition in the GlnTPN group, intestinal permeability was unchanged, whereas permeability in the STPN group increased. Villus height was unaltered in the GlnTPN group but in the STPN group it decreased. The addition of glutamine to parenteral nutrition prevents deterioration of gut permeability and preserves mucosal structure.
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            Randomised trial of glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition on infectious morbidity in patients with multiple trauma.

            Infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with multiple trauma. Studies in both animals and human beings have suggested that glutamine-enriched nutrition decreases the number of infections. Patients with multiple trauma with an expected survival of more than 48 h, and who had an Injury Severity Score of 20 or more, were randomly allocated glutamine supplemented enteral nutrition or a balanced, isonitrogenous, isocaloric enteral-feeding regimen along with usual care. Each patient was assessed every 8 h for infection, the primary endpoint. Data were analysed both per protocol, which included enteral feeding for at least 5 days, and by intention to treat. 72 patients were enrolled and 60 received enteral feeding (29 glutamine-supplemented) for at least 5 days. Five (17%) of 29 patients in the glutamine-supplemented group had pneumonia compared with 14 (45%) of 31 patients in the control group (p<0.02). Bacteraemia occurred in two (7%) patients in glutamine group and 13 (42%) in the control group (p<0.005). One patient in the glutamine group had sepsis compared with eight (26%) patients in the control group (p<0.02). There was a low frequency of pneumonia, sepsis, and bacteraemia in patients with multiple trauma who received glutamine-supplemented enteral nutrition. Larger studies are needed to investigate whether glutamine-supplemented enteral nutrition reduces mortality.
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              Is Glutamine a Conditionally Essential Amino Acid?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Journal of Nutrition
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0022-3166
                1541-6100
                September 2001
                September 01 2001
                September 2001
                September 01 2001
                : 131
                : 9
                : 2543S-2549S
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Laboratories for Surgical Metabolism and Nutrition, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
                Article
                10.1093/jn/131.9.2543S
                11533310
                © 2001

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