Acute alcohol exposure, acidemia or glutamine administration impacts amino acid homeostasis in ovine maternal and fetal plasma. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a significant problem in human reproductive medicine. Maternal alcohol administration alters maternal amino acid homeostasis and results in acidemia in both mother and fetus, causing fetal growth restriction. We hypothesized that administration of glutamine, which increases renal ammoniagenesis to regulate acid-base balance, may provide an intervention strategy. This hypothesis was tested using sheep as an animal model. On day 115 of gestation, ewes were anesthetized and aseptic surgery was performed to insert catheters into the fetal abdominal aorta as well as the maternal abdominal aorta and vena cava. On day 128 of gestation, ewes received intravenous administration of saline, alcohol [1.75 g/kg body weight (BW)/h], a bolus of 30 mg glutamine/kg BW, alcohol + a bolus of 30 mg glutamine/kg BW, a bolus of 100 mg glutamine/kg BW, alcohol + a bolus of 100 mg glutamine/kg BW, or received CO2 administration to induce acidemia independent of alcohol. Blood samples were obtained simultaneously from the mother and the fetus at times 0 and 60 min (the time of peak blood alcohol concentration) of the study. Administration of alcohol to pregnant ewes led to a reduction in concentrations of glutamine and related amino acids in plasma by 21-30%. An acute administration of glutamine to ewes, concurrent with alcohol administration, improved the profile of most amino acids (including citrulline and arginine) in maternal and fetal plasma. We suggest that glutamine may have a protective effect against alcohol-induced metabolic disorders and FAS in the ovine model.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Washburn, S. E., Sawant, O. B., Lunde, E. R., Wu, G., & Cudd, T. A.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Washburn, Shannon E||Sawant, Onkar B||Lunde, Emilie R||Wu, Guoyao||Cudd, Timothy A

publication date

  • January 2013