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Glycine metabolism in skeletal muscle: implications for metabolic homeostasis

Koopman, René; Caldow, Marissa K.; Ham, Daniel J.; Lynch, Gordon S.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2017 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 237–242
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000383
GENES AND CELL METABOLISM: Edited by Blake B. Rasmussen and George Grimble
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Purpose of review The review summarizes the recent literature on the role of glycine in skeletal muscle during times of stress.

Recent findings Supplemental glycine protects muscle mass and function under pathological conditions. In addition, mitochondrial dysfunction in skeletal muscle leads to increased cellular serine and glycine production and activation of NADPH-generating pathways and glutathione metabolism. These studies highlight how glycine availability modulates cellular homeostasis and redox status.

Summary Recent studies demonstrate that supplemental glycine effectively protects muscles in a variety of wasting models, including cancer cachexia, sepsis, and reduced caloric intake. The underlying mechanisms responsible for the effects of glycine remain unclear but likely involve receptor-mediated responses and modulation of intracellular metabolism. Future research to understand these mechanisms will provide insight into glycine's therapeutic potential. Our view is that glycine holds considerable promise for improving health by protecting muscles during different wasting conditions.

Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to René Koopman, Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia. Tel: +1 3 8344 0243; fax: +61 3 8344 5818; e-mail: rkoopman@unimelb.edu.au

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