1. On perfusion of livers from fed rats with a semi-synthetic medium containing no added amino acids there is a rapid release of glutamine during the first 15min (15.6±0.8μmol/h per g wet wt.; mean±s.e.m. of 35 experiments), followed by a low linear rate of production (3.6±0.3μmol/h per g wet wt.; mean±s.e.m. of three experiments). The rapid initial release can be accounted for as wash-out of preexisting intracellular glutamine. 2. Addition of readily permeating substrates, or substrate combinations, giving rise to intracellular glutamate or ammonia, or both, did not appreciably increase the rate of glutamine production over the endogenous rate. The maximum rate obtained was from proline plus alanine; even then the rate represented less than one-fortieth of the capacity of glutamine synthetase measured in vitro. 3. Complete inhibition of respiration in the perfusions [no erythrocytes in the medium; 1mm-cyanide; N2%CO2 (95:5) in the gas phase] or perfusion with glutamine synthetase inhibitors [l-methionine dl-sulphoximine; dl-(%)-allo-δ-hydroxylysine] abolishes the low linear rate of glutamine synthesis, but not the initial rapid release of glutamine. 4. In livers from 48h-starved rats initial release (0–15min) of glutamine was decreased (10.6±1.1μmol/h per g wet wt.; mean±s.e.m. of 11 experiments) and the subsequent rate of glutamine production was lower than in livers from fed rats. Again proline plus alanine was the only substrate combination giving an increase significantly above the endogenous rate. 5. The rate of glutamine synthesis de novo by the liver is apparently unrelated to the tissue content of glutamate or ammonia. 6. The blood glutamine concentration is increased by 50% within 1h of elimination of the liver from the circulation of rats in vivo. 7. There is an output of glutamine by the brain under normal conditions; the mean arterio-venous difference for six rats was 0.023μmol/ml. 8. The high potential activity of liver glutamine synthetase appears to be inhibited by some unknown mechanism: the function of the liver under normal conditions is probably the disposal of glutamine produced by extrahepatic tissues.

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