Glutamine Regulates Skeletal Muscle Immunometabolism in Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes. 2022 Apr 1;71(4):624-636. doi: 10.2337/db20-0814.


Dysregulation of skeletal muscle metabolism influences whole-body insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis. We hypothesized that type 2 diabetes-associated alterations in the plasma metabolome directly contribute to skeletal muscle immunometabolism and the subsequent development of insulin resistance. To this end, we analyzed the plasma and skeletal muscle metabolite profile and identified glutamine as a key amino acid that correlates inversely with BMI and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) in men with normal glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. Using an in vitro model of human myotubes and an in vivo model of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in male mice, we provide evidence that glutamine levels directly influence the inflammatory response of skeletal muscle and regulate the expression of the adaptor protein GRB10, an inhibitor of insulin signaling. Moreover, we demonstrate that a systemic increase in glutamine levels in a mouse model of obesity improves insulin sensitivity and restores glucose homeostasis. We conclude that glutamine supplementation may represent a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent or delay the onset of insulin resistance in obesity by reducing inflammatory markers and promoting skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance* / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Glutamine
  • Glucose

Associated data

  • figshare/10.2337/figshare.17433230