Enhanced metabolism of arginine and glutamine in enterocytes of cortisol-treated pigs.
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This study was designed to determine whether cortisol plays a role in arginine and glutamine metabolism in enterocytes and, more specifically, whether cortisol regulates metabolic changes in these cells during weaning. Twenty-eight 21-day-old suckling pigs were randomly assigned to one of four groups (7 animals in each) and received intramuscular injections of vehicle solution (sesame oil) (control group), hydrocortisone 21-acetate (HYD) (25 mg/kg body wt), RU-486 (10 mg/kg body wt) (a potent blocker of glucocorticoid receptors), or HYD plus RU-486. At 29 days of age, pigs were killed for preparation ofjejunal enterocytes. During the entire experimental period, pigs were nursed by sows. Activities of argininosuccinate synthase, argininosuccinate lyase (ASL), arginase, and pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) synthase were measured. For metabolic studies, enterocytes were incubated for 30 min at 37 degrees C in 2 ml of Krebs-bicarbonate buffer (pH 7.4) containing 0, 0.5, or 2 mM [U-(14)C]arginine or [U-(14)C]glutamine. Compared with control, cortisol administration increased 1) the activities of ASL and arginase and the production of CO(2), ornithine, and proline from arginine, and 2) P5C synthase activity and the formation of glutamate, alanine, aspartate, ornithine, citrulline, proline, and CO(2) from glutamine in enterocytes. The stimulating effects of cortisol on the enzyme activities and the metabolism of arginine and glutamine were abolished by coadministration of RU-486. Our data suggest that cortisol plays an important role in regulating arginine and glutamine metabolism in enterocytes via a glucocorticoid receptor-mediated mechanism.
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