The Glutamic Acid/Glutamine Ratio is used to identify specimen handling issues that cause spontaneous degradation of glutamine to glutamate, and can reveal the origin of difficulty maintaining systemic pH balance.
What is Glutamate (glutamic acid)?
Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain which is necessary for memory and learning. In fact, it is believed that 70% of the fast excitatory central nervous system synapses utilize glutamate as a transmitter.
An event or process that dramatically increases the activity of glutamate often induces the death of neurons. Such a scenario is believed to take place in e.g. ischemia, trauma, hypoxia, hypoglycemia, and hepatic encephalopathy.; More mild but chronic malfunctioning of glutamatergic systems may be involved in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, AIDS-neurodegeneration, Tourette’s syndrome, and Korsakoff syndrome.
It is unlikely that a disturbance of glutamate homeostasis is the sole initiator of these neurodegenerative diseases, but rather that excitotoxicity plays a pivotal executive role in events triggered by other processes such as energy deficits that facilitate the neurotoxic potential of endogenous glutamate.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid which acts as a precursor to glutamate. Glutamine aids in the maintenance of gut barrier function, intestinal cell proliferation and differentiation. Glutamine supplementation is commonly utilized to help repair the mucosal lining of the gut which can help with food sensitivities and other stomach/ intestinal issues. High levels may be a sign of inhibitory/excitatory imbalances in the neurotransmitter system.