Gut glutathione metabolism and changes with 7,12-DMBA and glutamine

Anita T. Johnson, Yihong Kaufmann, Shaoke Luo, Kirk Babb, Roger Hawk, V. Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction. The mechanism by which oral glutamine (GLN) prevents 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced breast cancer is unknown. While GLN triples the negative extraction of gut glutathione (GSH) in rats, DMBA significantly disrupts it. Actual gut GSH flux has not been reported. We hypothesized that the gut is a producer of GSH; DMBA blocks gut GSH production and supplemental oral GLN antagonizes this effect. Materials and methods. Eighty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to four groups (n = 20/group): DMBA + GLN, DMBA + FA, OIL + GLN, OIL + FA. Rats (age 50 days) were gavaged with a one-time dose of 100 mg/kg DMBA or oil. Rats were gavaged with AES-14 as GLN (1 gm/kg/day) or an isonitrogenous amount of Freamine (FA) from 1 week before till sacrifice at 1 week after DMBA (greatest effect on gut GSH extraction). Arterial and portal blood was taken for GLN and GSH levels, and blood flow was measured using 14C-PAH. Gut GLN and GSH fluxes (uptake or production) were calculated. Results. DMBA abrogated the normal GSH production (negative flux) in OIL + FA while not affecting GLN metabolism. GLN maintained GSH production in DMBA + GLN. Conclusions. Oral GLN restores to normal GSH production in DMBA-treated animals suggesting one of the mechanism(s) by which GLN prevents breast cancer in this model. Unchanged uptake of GLN in the DMBA-treated animals may indicate a block in GSH transport rather than actual intracellular production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)
  • Glutamine
  • Glutathione
  • Gut gluatathione production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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