1. Academic Validation
  2. Glutamine and glutamate as vital metabolites

Glutamine and glutamate as vital metabolites

  • Braz J Med Biol Res. 2003 Feb;36(2):153-63. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879x2003000200002.
P Newsholme 1 M M R Lima J Procopio T C Pithon-Curi S Q Doi R B Bazotte R Curi


  • 1 Department of Biochemistry, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College of Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.

Glucose is widely accepted as the primary nutrient for the maintenance and promotion of cell function. This metabolite leads to production of ATP, NADPH and precursors for the synthesis of macromolecules such as nucleic acids and Phospholipids. We propose that, in addition to glucose, the 5-carbon Amino acids glutamine and glutamate should be considered to be equally important for maintenance and promotion of cell function. The functions of glutamine/glutamate are many, i.e., they are substrates for protein synthesis, anabolic precursors for muscle growth, they regulate acid-base balance in the kidney, they are substrates for ureagenesis in the liver and for hepatic and renal gluconeogenesis, they act as an oxidative fuel for the intestine and cells of the immune system, provide inter-organ nitrogen transport, and act as precursors of neurotransmitter synthesis, of nucleotide and nucleic acid synthesis and of glutathione production. Many of these functions are interrelated with glucose metabolism. The specialized aspects of glutamine/glutamate metabolism of different glutamine-utilizing cells are discussed in the context of glucose requirements and cell function.