Open Access Open Badges Research

Gut mucosal and plasma concentrations of glutamine: a comparison between two enriched enteral feeding solutions in critically ill patients

Jean-Charles Preiser1, Daliana Peres-Bota2, Pierre Eisendrath3, Jean-Louis Vincent2* and André Van Gossum3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Intensive Care, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège, Belgium

2 Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

3 Department of Gastroenterology, Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

Nutrition Journal 2003, 2:13  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-2-13

Published: 13 October 2003



Addition of glutamine to enteral nutrition formulas is consistently associated with a significant decrease in septic morbidity in critically ill patients, possibly related to the attenuation of gut dysfunction. This pilot study was undertaken to compare the effects of enteral administration of two glutamine-enriched formulas containing either additional free glutamine or glutamine-rich proteins, with a standard solution on plasma and mucosal concentrations of glutamine in patients admitted in the Department of Intensive Care.


Following randomization, glutamine concentration was determined in endoscopically sampled duodenal biopsies and plasma, before and after a 7-day period of continuous administration of the designated solution.


The mucosal concentration of glutamine increased in the duodenal biopsies sampled from patients randomized to the solution containing the glutamine-rich proteins (from 3.6 ± 2.2 to 6.7 ± 5.2 micro-mol/g protein), but not from the others. There were no differences between the 3 groups in the plasma concentrations of glutamine, which remained stable over time.


The source of supplemental glutamine can influence gut mucosal glutamine concentrations, suggesting differences in its availability or utilization.