Preventive oral supplementation with glutamine and arginine has beneficial effects on the intestinal mucosa and inflammatory cytokines in endotoxemic rats

Amino Acids. 2012 Aug;43(2):813-21. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1137-2. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of oral supplementation with a combination of arginine and glutamine on the intestinal mucosa and inflammatory cytokines of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced adult rats. Fifty Sprague-Dawley rats (average weight of 185 ± 15 g) were randomly divided into five groups: control group A (CA) and control group B (CB), both orally supplemented with 0.9% saline; group Arg, supplemented with 300 mg/kg day(-1) arginine; group Gln, supplemented with 300 mg/kg day(-1) glutamine; group AG, supplemented with 150 mg/kg day(-1) arginine and 150 mg/kg day(-1) glutamine. The experiment lasted for 2 weeks. Food intake and body weight were measured during the experiment. At 10.00 h of day 15, animals were injected with 4 mg/kg LPS (group CB, Arg, Gln, and AG) or sterile saline (group CA) after supplementation. Then at 14.00 h, all animals were killed and blood and tissue collected. The results showed that compared with group CB, arginine concentration tended to be increased (P > 0.05) in group Arg and AG, while there was no significant difference in glutamine concentration among the groups challenged with LPS. Oral supplementation with arginine or/and glutamine mitigated morphology impairment (lower villus height, P < 0.05) in the jejunum and ileum induced by LPS challenge. LPS administration resulted in a significant increase in TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 mRNA abundance. Arginine only significantly decreased TNF-α mRNA abundance in the ileum, while glutamine significantly decreased both TNF-α and IL-10 mRNA in the ileum. A combination of arginine and glutamine significantly decreased TNF-α and IL-1β mRNA abundance in both the jejunum and ileum, while they also significantly decreased anti-inflammatory IL-10 in the ileum. These results revealed that an oral supply of combined arginine and glutamine had more favorable effects on the intestinal mucosa and inflammatory cytokines than a supply of arginine or glutamine alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Amine Oxidase (Copper-Containing) / blood
  • Animals
  • Arginine / administration & dosage*
  • Arginine / pharmacokinetics
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Endothelin-1 / blood
  • Endotoxemia / drug therapy*
  • Endotoxemia / metabolism
  • Endotoxemia / pathology
  • Gene Expression
  • Glutamine / administration & dosage*
  • Glutamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Jejunum / drug effects
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Microvilli / drug effects
  • Microvilli / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Cytokines
  • Endothelin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Glutamine
  • Arginine
  • Amine Oxidase (Copper-Containing)