Oral glutamine supplementation improves intestinal permeability dysfunction in a murine acute graft-vs.-host disease model.

Rainer Noth, Robert Häsler, Eckhard Stüber, Mark Ellrichmann, Heiner Schäfer, Claudia Geismann, Jochen Hampe, Burkhard Bewig, Thilo Wedel, Martina Böttner, Stefan Schreiber, Philip Rosenstiel, Alexander Arlt
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American journal of physiology Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
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Although a profound barrier dysfunction has been reported, little is known about the pathophysiological mechanism evoking gastrointestinal graft-vs.-host disease (GI-GvHD) and apparent therapeutic options. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of oral glutamine on the course of GI-GvHD in an acute semiallogenic graft-vs.-host disease (GvHD) in irradiated B6D2F1 mice. An acute semiallogenic GvHD was induced by intraperitoneal injection of lymphocytes from C57BL/6 mice to irradiated B6D2F1 mice. Half of the GvHD animals received oral glutamine supplementation for 6 days started at the time of lymphocyte transfer. Six days after induction of the semiallogenic GvHD, jejunum specimens were prepared. The expression of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and the tight junction protein occludin was investigated by PCR. Histological changes along with the apoptotic response were evaluated and intestinal permeability was assessed. Animals with GvHD showed a strong increase in paracellular permeability as a sign of the disturbed barrier function. TNF-α expression was significantly increased and the expression of the tight junction protein occludin decreased. GvHD led to mucosal atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, crypt apoptosis, and a disintegration of the tight junctions. Glutamine-treated mice showed reduced expression of TNF-α, increased occludin expression, fewer histological changes in the jejunum, smaller number of apoptotic cells in the crypt, and reduced gastrointestinal permeability. In conclusion, oral glutamine seems to have beneficial effects on the severity of inflammatory changes in the course of GvHD and might be a therapeutic option.