Amino Acids in Intestinal Physiology and Health.

TitleAmino Acids in Intestinal Physiology and Health.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBeaumont, M, Blachier, F
JournalAdv Exp Med Biol
Date Published2020
KeywordsAmino Acids, Dietary Proteins, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Health, Humans, Intestines

Dietary protein digestion is an efficient process resulting in the absorption of amino acids by epithelial cells, mainly in the jejunum. Some amino acids are extensively metabolized in enterocytes supporting their high energy demand and/or production of bioactive metabolites such as glutathione or nitric oxide. In contrast, other amino acids are mainly used as building blocks for the intense protein synthesis associated with the rapid epithelium renewal and mucin production. Several amino acids have been shown to support the intestinal barrier function and the intestinal endocrine function. In addition, amino acids are metabolized by the gut microbiota that use them for their own protein synthesis and in catabolic pathways releasing in the intestinal lumen numerous metabolites such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, branched-chain amino acids, polyamines, phenolic and indolic compounds. Some of them (e.g. hydrogen sulfide) disrupts epithelial energy metabolism and may participate in mucosal inflammation when present in excess, while others (e.g. indole derivatives) prevent gut barrier dysfunction or regulate enteroendocrine functions. Lastly, some recent data suggest that dietary amino acids might regulate the composition of the gut microbiota, but the relevance for the intestinal health remains to be determined. In summary, amino acid utilization by epithelial cells or by intestinal bacteria appears to play a pivotal regulator role for intestinal homeostasis. Thus, adequate dietary supply of amino acids represents a key determinant of gut health and functions.

Alternate JournalAdv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PubMed ID32761567