Glycine and endotoxin


Apr 20, 2013
A diet containing glycine improves survival in endotoxin shock in the rat

In this study, we investigated the effects of a glycine-containing diet (5%) on mortality and liver injury due to intravenous injection of endotoxin [Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS)] in Sprague-Dawley rats in vivo. Fifty percent of the rats fed control diet died within 24 h after an intravenous injection of LPS (10 mg/kg), whereas feeding the rats glycine totally prevented mortality and markedly reduced an LPS-induced elevation of serum transaminase levels, hepatic necrosis, and lung injury. The elevation in serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) due to LPS was also blunted and delayed significantly by glycine feeding. In a two-hit model (hepatic ischemia-reperfusion and injection of sublethal LPS), all rats fed control diet died, whereas 83% of glycine-fed animals survived with a significant reduction in transaminases and improved liver and lung histology. LPS elevated intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in cultured Kupffer cells, an effect blocked almost completely by glycine. Glycine most likely reduces injury and mortality by preventing the LPS-induced elevation of [Ca2+]i in Kupffer cells, thereby minimizing toxic eicosanoid and cytokine production.

Background and aim: There is substantial experimental evidence that the amino acid glycine may have a role in protecting tissues against insults such as ischemia, hypoxia and reperfusion. Our aim was to investigate the ability of the amino acid glycine to prevent hepatic damage induced by injection of lipopolysaccharide and d-galactosamine (d-Gal), to modulate pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, and to improve survival.

Methods: Mice were challenged with an intraperitoneal injection of d-Gal (16 mg/mouse) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 1 μg/mouse). The intervention group also received an intraperitoneal injection of glycine (150 mg/kg) in two doses: 24 h before and just after LPS challenge. Serum cytokine levels were measured 2 h after challenge, and liver enzymes and histology were determined 16 h after LPS. Separate groups of mice received the same treatment and the survival rate was determined 24 h and ten days after endotoxin administration. In in vitro experiments, cultured mononuclear cells were stimulated by LPS, and TNF-α and IL-10 secretion were measured, in the presence or absence of glycine.

Results: In the glycine-treated mice, the serum levels of liver enzymes and TNF-α, the histologic necroinflammation score and the mortality rate were significantly reduced compared to control mice (P<0.001). Serum IL-10 levels in the glycine-treated mice were increased (P<0.01). In vitro studies in cultured lymphocytes isolated from either normal or glycine pretreated mice, demonstrated a significant and dose-dependent inhibition of LPS-induced TNF-α secretion and increase in IL-10 response after treatment with glycine (P<0.01). In conclusion, glycine reduces hepatic damage and improves survival rate in this mouse model of endotoxemia. The protective effect of glycine is associated with modulation of TNF-α and IL-10 secretion.
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