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Recent studies have shown that neutrophils can utilize glutamine and that glutamine supplementation can improve neutrophil function in postoperative and burn patients. The present study investigated the influence of oral glutamine supplementation on stimulated neutrophil degranulation and oxidative burst activity following prolonged exercise. Subjects, 7 well-trained men, reported to the laboratory following an overnight fast and cycled for 2 hrs at 60% on two occasions a week apart. They were randomly assigned to either a glutamine or placebo treatment. For both trials, subjects consumed a sugar-free lemon drink at 15-min intervals until 90 minutes, then a lemon flavored glutamine drink (GLN) or sugar-free lemon drink (PLA) was consumed at 15-min intervals for the remaining exercise and the 2-hr recovery period. Venous blood samples were taken pre-, during, and postexercise. Glutamine supplementation had no effect on the magnitude of postexercise leukocytosis, the plasma elastase concentration following exercise (which increased in both trials), or the plasma elastase release in response to bacterial stimulation (which fell in both trials). Neutrophil function assessed by oxidative burst activity of isolated cells did not change following exercise in either trial. These findings therefore suggest that the fall in plasma glutamine concentration does not account for the decrease in neutrophil function (degranulation response) following prolonged exercise.
Neil P. Walsh is with the Sport, Health and Leisure Dept., Trinity and All Saints University College, Leeds. LSI8 5HD England. The other authors are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT England. Direct all correspondence to Prof. Michael Gleeson.