Amino Acids in Cellular Nutrition
There is also evidence that amino acids can serve as more than simply the substrate for endogenous tissue repair and protein synthesis: they can also influence the immune system. Arginine has received increasing attention as an immune modulator. The immunomodulatory property is probably related to its function as a lymphotropic agent and a stimulator of pituitary growth hormone and insulin. In cancer patients undergoing major surgery, supplementation with arginine, 25 g/d, improved nitrogen balance and enhanced the T-lymphocyte stimulation index.
Leiberman et al also reported an improved nitrogen balance and immune function following an arginine-rich enteral (IMPACT™) regimen in cancer patients. The immunoenhancing effects are illustrated by arginine s ability to increase allograft rejection and to lead to tumor regression. Molecular biology studies have identified L-arginine as the likely precursor for the synthesis of EDRFs. Indeed, Ignarro et al have demonstrated that L-arginine depletion diminishes endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of the bovine pulmonary artery or vein. Amino acids may also play an important role when the gut mucosal barrier suffers endothelial damage, which leads to bacterial translocation.
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