Glutamate ingestion: the plasma and muscle free amino acid pools of resting humans
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Monosodium glutamate (MSG) ingestion is known to increase plasma glutamate concentration, and MSG infusion stimulates insulin secretion. We investigated the impact of MSG ingestion on both the plasma and intramuscular amino acid pools. Nine postprandial adults ingested MSG (150 mg/kg) and rested for 105 min. Venous blood was sampled preingestion and then every 15 min; vastus lateralis muscle biopsies were taken preingestion and at 45, 75, and 105 min postingestion. Venous plasma glutamate and aspartate concentrations increased (P = 0.05) approximately 700-800 and 300-400%, respectively, after 30-45 min. Although several other plasma amino acids increased modestly, the rise in glutamate accounted for approximately 80% of the increase in total plasma amino acids. In addition, plasma insulin increased threefold after 15 min; this occurred before a significant increase in plasma glutamate, indicating a feed-forward stimulation from the gastrointestinal tract. The intramuscular amino acid pool was remarkably constant, with only glutamate increasing (P = 0.05) by 3.56 mmol/kg dry wt. By 105 min, the plasma and muscle amino acids had returned to resting concentrations. This increase in muscle glutamate concentration could account for approximately 40% of the MSG ingested; we propose that resting skeletal muscle is a major sink for the glutamate and metabolizes it to aspartate.
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