Glutamine Metabolism and Its Role in Immunity, a Comprehensive Review

Animals (Basel). 2020 Feb 19;10(2):326. doi: 10.3390/ani10020326.


In the body of an animal, glutamine is a plentiful and very useful amino acid. Glutamine consumption in the body of animals in normal or disease conditions is the same or higher than the glucose. Many in vivo as well as in vitro experiments have been conducted to evaluate the importance of glutamine. Glutamine is a valuable nutrient for the proliferation of the lymphocytes. It also plays a crucial role in the production of cytokines, macrophages, phagocytic, and neutrophil to kill the bacteria. Most of the metabolic organs like the liver, gut, and skeletal muscles control the circulation and availability secretion of glutamine. In catabolic and hypercatabolic conditions, glutamine can turn out to be essential and plays a vital role in metabolism; however, availability may be compromised due to the impairment of homeostasis in the inter-tissue metabolism of amino acids. This is why the supplementation of glutamine is commonly used in clinical nutrition and is especially recommended to immune-suppressed persons. Despite this, in catabolic and hyper-catabolic conditions, it is challenging due to the amino acid concentration in plasma/bloodstream and glutamine should be provided via either the oral, enteral or parenteral route. However, the effect of glutamine as an immune-based supplement has been previously recognized as many research studies conducted in vivo and in-vitro evaluated the beneficial effects of glutamine. Hence, the present study delivers a combined review of glutamine metabolism in essential organs of the cell immune system. In this review, we have also reviewed the metabolism and action of glutamine and crucial problems due to glutamine supplementation in catabolic conditions.

Keywords: animal; glutamine; immunity; metabolism; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Retracted Publication