Glutamine and glutamate metabolism across the liver sinusoid

J Nutr. 2000 Apr;130(4S Suppl):983S-7S. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.4.983S.


The liver shows net glutamine uptake after a protein-containing meal, during uncontrolled diabetes, sepsis and short-term starvation, but changes to net release during long-term starvation and metabolic acidosis. Some studies report a small net release of glutamate by the liver. The differential expression of glutamine synthetase (perivenous) and glutaminase (periportal) within the liver indicates that glutamine is used for urea synthesis in periportal cells, whereas glutamine synthesis serves to detoxify any residual ammonia in perivenous cells. Experiments in vivo suggest that changes in net hepatic glutamine balance are due predominantly to regulation of glutaminase activity, with the flux through glutamine synthetase being relatively constant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Glutamine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Urea / metabolism


  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Ammonia
  • Urea