Glutamine Decreases the Duration of Postoperative Ileus After Abdominal Surgery: An Experimental Study of Conscious Dogs
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Postoperative ileus (POI) is a transient bowel dysmotility that occurs following many types of operations and is one of the most common complications of gastrointestinal surgery. We hypothesized that enteral supplementation of glutamine after abdominal surgery would restore fuel to the small intestine, suppress oxidative stress, and lead to improvement in POI. Twelve dogs underwent distal gastrectomy and were each randomly assigned to one of two groups based on postoperative treatment: the water injection (control) group and the glutamine injection group. Water (40 ml) or l(+)-glutamine (1 g/40 ml water) was injected into the residual stomach through the gastric tube every 12 h after surgery for 7 days. Changes in the plasma and intestinal intracellular concentration of glutamine and in gastrointestinal motility were measured. The plasma and intracellular glutamine levels decreased after the operation in both groups, although the decreased intracellular glutamine levels were not significantly different than preoperative levels. The glutamine group showed a significantly smaller decrease of the plasma glutamine level compared with the control group (P < 0.05). All the dogs showed gastrointestinal dysmotility after the operation. The mean length of time between the operation and the appearance of interdigestive migrating contractions in the glutamine group was significantly shorter than in the control group (22.4 ± 3.1 h versus 37.8 ± 4.0 h, respectively; P < 0.05). In conclusion, glutamine could act as a motility-recovery agent after abdominal surgery and thereby decrease the duration of POI.
KeywordsPostoperative ileus Glutamine Surgery Gastrointestinal motility Dog
The technical assistances of Ajinomoto Co. Ltd, Dr Hitoshi Kimura and Dr Takanori Inose are gratefully acknowledged. This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research and the 21st Century COE Program from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (MEXT) and Initiatives for Attractive Education in Graduate Schools from MEXT.