The intestine is now known to be an important site of protein production in the body, and glutamine (GLN) stimulates both secreted and non-secreted protein synthesis in the small bowel. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of GLN-supplemented parenteral nutrition on liver regeneration after hepatectomy. Animals were divided into two groups: a sham- operated control group (Group A) and a 70%-hepatectomy group (Group B). Postoperatively, one-third of the animals in each group were maintained on intravenous 10% glucose solution, on 10% glucose with 2% standard amino acid solution, or 10% glucose supplemented with 2% glutamine for 24 h. GLN administration after hepatectomy significantly promoted liver regeneration. In addition, assessment of amino acid metabolism showed that GLN administration activated GLN metabolism in the intestine and promoted alanine uptake by the remnant liver. This metabolic response also enhanced both secreted and non-secreted protein synthesis in intestinal epithelial cells, especially in cells isolated from the crypts. The proteins produced are important as a portal production factor for liver regeneration and intestinal cell proliferation. Bacterial and endotoxin translocation, on the other hand, was significantly reduced. Thus, the results of this study suggest that intravenous administration of GLN after hepatectomy significantly promoted liver regeneration.
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