Glucose and glutamine metabolism in rat macrophages: enhanced glycolysis and unaltered glutaminolysis in spontaneously diabetic BB rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • Metabolism of glutamine (Gln, 2 mM) and glucose (5 mM) was studied in vitro in isolated resident peritoneal macrophages from both normal (BBn) and spontaneously diabetic BB (BBd) rats. The major products from Gln were ammonia, glutamate, CO2 and to a lesser extent aspartate. Glucose decreased (P less than 0.01) the production of ammonia, CO2 and aspartate from Gln by 34-60%, but had no effect on the amount of glutamate accumulated. The major products from glucose were lactate and to a much lesser extent pyruvate and CO2. Gln decreased (P less than 0.01) 14CO2 production from [U-14C]glucose by 19-28%, increased (P less than 0.01) pyruvate production by 35-49%, but had no effect on lactate production. The fraction of glucose metabolized via the pentose phosphate pathway (PC) was less than 5%. There were no significant differences in Gln metabolism between BBn and BBd macrophages. The production of lactate and pyruvate and the flux from glucose into the PC were increased (P less than 0.01) by 2.4, 1.8 and 1.5-fold, respectively, in BBd cells. Increased macrophage glucose metabolism was also observed in diabetes-prone BB (BBdp) rats at 75-80 days but not at 50 days of age. In the presence of both Gln and glucose, potential ATP production from glucose was 2- and 4-times that from Gln, respectively, in BBn and BBd cells. Lactate production was the major pathway for glucose-derived ATP generation. These results demonstrate (a) glycolysis and flux from glucose through the pentose phosphate pathway are enhanced with no alteration in glutaminolysis in BBd macrophages; and (b) glucose may be a more important fuel than Gln for macrophages, particularly in BBd rats. The increased glucose metabolism may be associated with functional activation of the macrophages that have been proposed to be involved in beta-cell destruction and the development of diabetes.

published proceedings

  • Biochim Biophys Acta

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, G. Y., Field, C. J., & Marliss, E. B.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Wu, GY||Field, CJ||Marliss, EB

publication date

  • December 1991