Dietary protein restriction has multiple benefits in kidney disease. Because protein intake is a major determinant of endogenous acid production, it is important that net acid excretion change in parallel during changes in dietary protein intake. Dietary protein restriction decreases endogenous acid production and ¬decreases urinary ammonia excretion, a major component of net acid excretion. Glutamine synthetase (GS) catalyzes the reaction of NH4+ and glutamate, which regenerates the essential amino acid glutamine and decreases net ammonia generation. Because renal proximal tubule GS expression increases during dietary protein restriction, this could contribute to the decreased ammonia excretion. The current study's purpose was to determine proximal tubule GS's role in the renal response to protein restriction. We generated mice with proximal tubule-specific GS deletion (PT-GS-KO) using Cre-loxP techniques. Cre-negative (Control) and PT-GS-KO mice in metabolic cages were provided 20% protein diet for 2 days and were then changed to low protein (6%) diet for the next 7 days. Additional PT-GS-KO mice were maintained on 20% protein diet. Dietary protein restriction caused a rapid decrease in urinary ammonia excretion in both genotypes, but PT-GS-KO blunted this adaptive response significantly. This occurred despite no significant genotype-dependent differences in urinary pH or in serum electrolytes. There were no significant differences between Control and PT-GS-KO mice in expression of multiple other proteins involved in renal ammonia handling. We conclude that proximal tubule glutamine synthetase expression is necessary for the appropriate decrease in ammonia excretion during dietary protein restriction.
- dietary protein
- proximal tubule
- Copyright © 2017, American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology