According to a new study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Oxford in the UK, Glutamine
could help people with obesity
of fat tissue and reduce fat mass, The researchers also show how glutamine
levels can alter gene expression in several different cell types. However, more research is needed before glutamine
supplementation may be recommended as a treatment for obesity
. The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism
Being an important amino acid with many key functions such as providing energy and maintaining good intestinal health, Glutamine
also has anti-inflammatory
effects on for example white blood cells and T-cells that are important for the immune system.
The researchers examined how the metabolic processes differed in fat tissue collected from the abdomen of 52 obese
and 29 non-obese
women. They identified glutamine
as the amino acid that displayed the largest differences when comparing the two groups. People with obesity
had on average lower levels of glutamine
in their fat tissue than normal-weight people. Lower glutamine
-levels were also associated with larger fat cell size and higher body fat percentage independently of body-mass index (BMI), according to the study.
Dr Mikael Ryden, professor and senior physician at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet, and the study's corresponding author told Thailand Medical
News, "Our results suggest that treatment with glutamine
could be of value against obesity
and insulin resistance. We know, however, that glutamine
is also important for cell division and the metabolism of cancer and therefore, more research on possible long-term side effects is needed before glutamine
may be recommended as a dietary supplement to help treat obesity
and its complications."
The medical researchers also showed through a combination of animal and cell analyses that glutamine
levels influenced the expression of different genes and that low glutamine
levels induced an increase in the expression of pro-inflammatory genes in the fat tissue. Obese mice injected with glutamine
for two weeks had less fat tissue inflammation
than mice who received a control saline solution. Their body fat mass, fat cell volume and blood glucose levels were also reduced. In an analysis of cultured human fat cells, the expression of pro-inflammatory
genes and the lipid content were attenuated after incubation with increasing concentrations of glutamine
t;. The largest effect was observed after treatment with 5-20 millimolar (mM) glutamine for 11 days, according to the study.
The team also studied in detail what happens inside the fat cell when glutamine
levels are altered. They found that glutamine
impacts a mechanism called O-GlcNAcylation
that can control epigenetic changes, that is changes in gene expression caused by environmental and lifestyle factors rather than by alterations in our underlying DNA sequence. People with obesity
had higher levels of O-GlcNAcylation
in their fat tissue while mice and human cells treated with glutamine
had lower levels of O-GlcNAcylation
in the cell nucleus.
Dr Mikael Ryden added,"Our study shows that glutamine
in the fat tissue by changing the gene expression in several different cell types. This means that a lack of glutamine
, which may occur during long-term obesity
, could lead to epigenetic changes that fuel inflammation
in the body."
According to the researchers, further research is needed to fully understand which genes and cellular processes are affected the most.
Reference : Paul Petrus, et al. "Glutamine links obesity to inflammation in human white adipose tissue," Cell Metabolism, online December 19, 2019. Paul Petrus, Simon Lecoutre, Lucile Dollet, et al DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.019