The Prophylactic Effects of Glutamine on Muscle Protein Synthesis and Degradation in Rats with Ethanol-Induced Liver Damage

Nutrients. 2021 Aug 14;13(8):2788. doi: 10.3390/nu13082788.


The purpose of this research was to investigate the prophylactic effects of glutamine on muscle protein synthesis and degradation in rats with ethanol-induced liver injury. For the first 2 weeks, Wistar rats were divided into two groups and fed a control (n = 16) or glutamine-containing diet (n = 24). For the following 6 weeks, rats fed the control diet were further divided into two groups (n = 8 per group) according to whether their diet contained no ethanol (CC) or did contain ethanol (CE). Rats fed the glutamine-containing diet were also further divided into three groups (n = 8 per group), including a GG group (glutamine-containing diet without ethanol), GE group (control diet with ethanol), and GEG group (glutamine-containing diet with ethanol). After 6 weeks, results showed that hepatic fatty change, inflammation, altered liver function, and hyperammonemia had occurred in the CE group, but these were attenuated in the GE and GEG groups. Elevated intestinal permeability and a higher plasma endotoxin level were observed in the CE group, but both were lower in the GE and GEG groups. The level of a protein synthesis marker (p70S6K) was reduced in the CE group but was higher in both the GE and GEG groups. In conclusion, glutamine supplementation might elevate muscle protein synthesis by improving intestinal health and ameliorating liver damage in rats with chronic ethanol intake.

Keywords: Wistar rats; ethanol-induced liver injury; glutamine; gut permeability; microbiota composition; muscle protein degradation; muscle protein synthesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ethanol
  • Glutamine / administration & dosage*
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / etiology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / prevention & control*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Proteolysis / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Muscle Proteins
  • Glutamine
  • Ethanol