Background and aims: Surgery, trauma and inflammation reduce HLA-DR expression on monocytes, which is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection and sepsis. Furthermore, surgery decreases plasma glutamine (GLN) levels. The expression of HLA-DR on human monocytes in vitro is dependent on the concentration of GLN in the culture medium. We therefore hypothesized that postoperative infusions of glutamine-dipeptides would prevent the decreased HLA-DR expression on monocytes.
Methods: Thirty patients undergoing major abdominal surgery were randomly allocated to receive either 1500 ml Vamin (control) or an isonitrogenic formulation containing Vamin and 500 ml glycyl-glutamine (35 g GLN; 0.5g/kg BW) (GLY-GLN), or Vamin and 500 ml alanyl-glutamine (35 g GLN; 0.5 g/kg BW) (ALA-GLN) as a continuous infusion over 48 h post-operatively. Immediately and 48 h after surgery blood samples were collected to determine HLA-DR expression on monocytes by flow cytometry.
Results: The groups were comparable with respect to age, gender distribution and operation time. In patients receiving GLY-GLN mean HLA-DR expression on monocytes at 48 h was significantly better preserved than in controls (65.0 %+/-7 % vs 42.5 %+/-4 %;P<0.05), whereas HLA-DR expression on monocytes in patients receiving ALA-GLN was not significantly different.
Conclusion: This is the first study comparing the dipeptides GLY-GLN and ALA-GLN in the postoperative setting. The GLY-GLN induced preservation of HLA-DR on monocytes following surgery may prevent infectious complications in these patients.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.