American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology

Glutamine protects against apoptosis via downregulation of Sp3 in intestinal epithelial cells.

PMID 20884886


Glutamine plays a key role in intestinal growth and maintenance of gut function, and as we have shown protects the postischemic gut (Kozar RA, Scultz SG, Bick RJ, Poindexter BJ, Desoigne R, Weisbrodt NW, Haber MM, Moore FA. Shock 21: 433-437, 2004). However, the precise mechanisms of the gut protective effects of glutamine have not been well elucidated. In the present study, RNA microarray was performed to obtain differentially expressed genes in intestinal epithelial IEC-6 cells following either 2 mM or 10 mM glutamine. The result demonstrated that specificity protein 3 (Sp3) mRNA expression was downregulated 3.1-fold. PCR and Western blot confirmed that Sp3 expression was decreased by glutamine in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. To investigate the role of Sp3, Sp3 gene siRNA silencing was performed and apoptosis was assessed. Silencing of Sp3 demonstrated a significant increase in Bcl-2 and decrease in Bax protein expression, as well as a decrease in caspase-3, -8, and -9 protein expression and activity. The protein expression of apoptosis-related proteins after hypoxia/reoxygenation was similar to that of normoxia and correlated with a decrease in DNA fragmentation. Importantly, the addition of glutamine to Sp3-silenced cells did not further lessen apoptosis, suggesting that Sp3 plays a major role in the inhibitory effect of glutamine on apoptosis. This novel finding may explain in part the gut-protective effects of glutamine.