Glutamine affects glutathione recycling enzymes in a DMBA-induced breast cancer model

Yihong Kaufmann, Valentina K. Todorova, Shaoke Luo, V. Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Malignancy depletes host glutathione (GSH) levels to increase treatment-related toxicity and increases itself to resist the treatments. Our previous studies have shown that dietary glutamine (GLN) prevented 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumors through enhancing gut GSH release and reducing tumor GSH level. In addition, GSH synthesis, metabolism, and recycling are accomplished in γ-glutamyl cycle. We hypothesized that the GLN prevention might be through a differential regulation of the γ-glutamyl cycle enzymes. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into DMBA-tumor bearing, DMBA-treated, and control groups subdivided into GLN and water groups. GLN supplementation was given at 1 g/kg/day by gastric gavage. The activities and messenger RNA levels of γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GTP), γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS), 5-oxo-L-prolinase (OPase), γ-glutamyl transferase (GTF), and glutaminase (GLNase) were determined in gut mucosa and breast tumor using specific enzyme assays and semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. GLN upregulated gut GTP, GCS, OPase, and GLNase in DMBA-tumor bearing, DMBA-treated, and/or control rats; however, it downregulated these enzymes in the tumor. The paradoxical effect of GLN on key GSH recycling enzymes in the gut versus tumor suggests that dietary supplemental GLN could be used in the clinical practice to increase the therapeutic index of cancer treatments by protecting normal tissues from, and sensitizing tumor cells to, chemotherapy and radiation-related injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-525
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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