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Keywords:

  • Alanine uptake and release;
  • Sympathetic ganglia of chicken embryos;
  • Metabolism of sympathetic ganglia

Abstract: Uptake and release of alanine were measured in lumbar sympathetic chains excised from embryos of white leghorn chickens, 14-15 days old, and incubated in a modified Eagle's minimum essential medium. In the presence of [U-14C]glucose, glucose carbon accumulated in alanine in the medium at a rate that increased when unlabeled alanine was added and sometimes exceeded the rate of appearance in lactate. When combined with uptake data, the increase in appearance of labeled alanine in the medium could be accounted for quantitatively by interference with its reuptake, without assuming a change in the unidirectional output of labeled alanine, provided allowance was made for the measured properties of exchange between the extracellular space and the surrounding medium. According to this model, the constant unidirectional outflux of labeled alanine was about 50 μmol/g dry weight/h. When [U-14C]alanine was added to medium containing unlabeled glucose, the alanine was consumed at a rate that increased as the concentration of alanine in the medium was elevated. The uptake rate was found to fit a modified Michaelis-Menten equation with a Umax of about 120 μmol/g dry weight/h, a Km of 0.5-1.0 mM, and a Kd of 0.75 ml/g dry weight/h. By chemical measurement of changes in alanine concentration in the medium during incubation, the uptake rate was shown to equal the output rate when about 0.2 mM alanine was present. Much of the alanine consumed in the presence of glucose was metabolized to CO2, raising the total CO2 output above the rate obtained with glucose alone. When alanine was present at a concentration of 10-20 mM, it contributed almost as much carbon to CO2 as did the glucose. A higher percentage of the carbon from alanine was incorporated into tissue constituents than was carbon from either glucose or lactate. It is concluded that alanine can be significant both as a product and as a substrate, but that its role as substrate would not be great at typical concentrations of alanine in blood.