Gut glutamine utilization after massive small bowel resection was studied to gain further insight into the alterations and adaptations in intestinal glutamine metabolism that occur during the development of post-resectional hyperplasia. After resection of the middle 60% of the small intestine in the rat, gut glutamine metabolism was studied immediately and 1, 2, and 3 weeks later. Whole gut glutamine extraction was 22% in sham controls and it acutely declined to 12% (p<0.01) after bowel resection. Extraction increased to 31% 1 week later (p<0.05) and then returned to normal by week 2. Gut ammonia release decreased after massive small bowel resection, whereas intestinal alanine release increased. The increase in gut glutamine extraction at 1 week occurred at a time when jejunal and ileal DNA and protein content were markedly increased (p<0.01). Intestinal glutaminase content declined initially and then increased by the third week after bowel resection (p<0.01). With time, increases in gut cellularity and glutaminase content are associated with gut glutamine utilization in the shortened small bowel that is equal to that of the intact unresected intestine.
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