In the acidotic dog, alanine is extracted from plasma and utilized as a precursor of ammonia. Simultaneously, it is formed de novo within tubular cells and added to renal venous blood. When plasma concentration is within a normal range, production of alanine greatly exceeds utilization. Increasing the plasma concentration reduces production and increases utilization of plasma alanine. The infusion of glutamine increases the renal production of alanine without appreciable change in utilization of plasma alanine. These results are consonant with the view that alanine is metabolized by transamination with α-ketoglutarate to form glutamate, which is subsequently deaminated oxidatively to liberate ammonia. Conversely, alanine is formed by transamination of pyruvate with either glutamate or glutamine and is added to renal venous blood. The balance between production and utilization is dependent, at least in part, on the concentrations of the reactants.
Robert F. Pitts, William J. Stone