The hyperpolarizing impact of glycine on endothelial cells may be anti-atherogenic

Med Hypotheses. 2009 Aug;73(2):263-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.021. Epub 2009 Feb 18.


Studies to date indicate that endothelial cells express glycine-activated chloride channels, which promote hyperpolarization of the endothelial plasma membrane. If such channels are expressed by endothelial cells lining conduit arteries, glycine is likely to have anti-atherogenic activity. This reflects the fact that endothelial hyperpolarization promotes calcium influx, activating the endothelial isoform of nitric oxide synthase, while also down-regulating the activity of the membrane-bound NADPH oxidase, chief endothelial source of superoxide. Since macrophages express glycine-activated chloride channels that suppress production of oxidants and cytokines, glycine may also oppose atherogenesis by influencing intimal macrophage function. In rats, supplemental glycine exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic effects attributed to chloride channel activation. Administration of large daily doses of glycine would appear to be practical and safe, and has already been shown to inhibit protein glycation in human diabetics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Cattle
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Glycine / administration & dosage
  • Glycine / pharmacology*
  • Rats


  • Glycine