Glutamine and the Immune System

Glutamine may inhibit tumor progression in part through its ability to increase immune activity; it can improve both natural killer cell and T-cell activity in vitro and in vivo.46,105 Glutamine may also reduce immuno-suppression caused by tumors. Because some enzymes involved in PGE2 production are inhibited by glutathione, and because PGE2 is an immunosup-pressive compound, glutamine, as an inducer of glutathione synthesis, can reduce immunosuppression.106 The ability of cancer cells to evade immune destruction is one of the main reasons conventional immunostimulant drugs have had only limited success (see Chapters 11 and 12). The potential anticancer effects of glutamine are summarized in Table 18.1.

TABLE 18.1 POTENTIAL ANTICANCER ACTIONS OF GLUTAMINE

ACTIVITY

KNOWN EFFECTS

AS AN EICOSANOID INHIBITOR, MAY:

Chapter 3: Results of Therapy at the Cellular Level

Induce apoptosis

x

Chapter 5: Transcription Factors and Redox Signaling

Inhibit NF-kB activity

x

Chapters 7 and 8: Angiogenesis

Inhibit angiogenesis

x

Inhibit eicosanoid effects

x

Inhibit VEGF effects

x

Chapters 11 and 12: Immune System

Stimulate/support the immune system

x

Chapters 18: Amino Acids and Related Compounds

Protect normal cells from chemotherapy/radiotherapy

x

TABLE 18.2 ESTIMATED THERAPEUTIC AND LOAEL DOSES FOR GLUTAMINE

DESCRIPTION

DOSE (g/day)

Required dose as scaled from animal antitumor studies

up to 32

Doses used in human anticancer studies

8 to 30

LOAEL dose

30 or more

Tentative dose recommendation for further research

8 to 30

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