The role of foetal glutamate as a source of placental glutamine was investigated in the near-term pregnant guinea-pig placenta perfused in situ through the umbilical vessels. With normal foetal amino acid concentrations there was a significant two-way exchange of glutamate between the placenta and foetal perfusate, but a net release of the amino acid from the placenta. Radioactively labelled glutamate carbon entering the placenta by this exchange was freely incorporated into intracellular glutamine, but only 1.5% of it was found in glutamine transported out into the foetal circulation. In the guinea pig, therefore, foetal glutamate does not appear to be a precursor of glutamine released from the placenta on the foetal side.

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