A study was undertaken to assess the role of a physiological concentration of glutamine in AS-30D cell metabolism. Flux of 14C-glutamine to 14CO2 and of 14C-acetate to glutamate was detected indicating reversible flux between glutamate and TCA cycle alpha-ketoglutarate. These fluxes were transaminase dependent. A flux analysis was compared using data from three tracers that label alpha-ketoglutarate carbon 5, [2-14C]glucose, [1-14C]acetate and [5-14C]glutamine. The analysis indicated that the probability of flux of TCA cycle alpha-ketoglutarate to glutamate was, at minimum, only slightly less than the probability of flux of alpha-ketoglutarate through alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase. The apparent Km for oxidative flux of [14C]glutamine to 14CO2, 0.07 mM, indicated that this flux was at a maximal rate at physiological, 0.75 mM, glutamine. Although oxidative flux through alpha-ketoglutrate dehydrogenase was the major fate of glutamine, flux of glutamine to lipid via reductive carboxylation of alpha-ketoglutarate was demonstrated by measuring incorporation of [5-14C]glutamine into 14C-lipid. In media containing glucose (6 mM), and glutamine (0.75 mM) 47 per cent of the lipid synthesized from substrates in the media was derived from glutamine via reductive carboxylation and 49 per cent from glucose. These findings of nearly equal fluxes suggest that lipogenesis via reductive carboxylation may be an important role of glutamine in hepatoma cells.