Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Post-graduate Program in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Phenotipic Plasticity, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]
L-Glutamine (L-Gln) supplementation has been pointed out as an anticatabolic intervention, but its effects on protein synthesis and degradation signaling in skeketal muscle are still poorly known. The effects of L-Gln pretreatment (1 g kg-1 day-1 body weight for 10 days) on muscle fiber cross-sectional area (CSA), amino acid composition (measured by LC-MS/MS) and protein synthesis (Akt-mTOR) and degradation (ubiquitin ligases) signaling in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in 24-h-fasted mice were investigated. The fiber CSA of EDL muscle was not different between the L-Gln-fasted and L-Gln-fed groups. This finding was associated with reduced contents of L-Leu and L-Iso and activation of protein synthesis signaling (p-RPS6Ser240/244 and Akt-mTOR). The spectrum of soleus muscle fiber CSA distribution was larger in L-Gln-fasted as compared with placebo-fasted mice. This effect of L-Gln pretreatment was associated with changes in red fibers L-Gln metabolism as indicated by increased intracellular L-glutamine/L-glutamate ratio, L-aspartate and GABA levels. L-Gln supplementation reduced fasting-induced mass loss in tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles. Evidence is presented that pretreatment with L-glutamine attenuates skeletal muscle atrophy induced by 24-h fasting through mechanisms that vary with the muscle fiber type.