Arginine and immunity

Petar J. Popovic, Herbert J. Zeh, Juan B. Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

228 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For many years, dietary arginine supplementation, often combined with other substances, has been used as a mechanism to boost the immune system. Considerable controversy, however, exists as to the benefits and indications of dietary arginine due in part to a poor understanding of the role played by this amino acid in maintaining immune function. Emerging knowledge promises to clear this controversy and allow for arginine's safe use. In myeloid cells, arginine is mainly metabolized either by inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthases (iNOS) or by arginase 1, enzymes that are stimulated by T helper 1 or 2 cytokines, respectively. Thus, activation of iNOS or arginase (or both) reflects the type of inflammatory response in a specific disease process. Myeloid suppressor cells (MSC) expressing arginase have been described in trauma (in both mice and humans), intra-abdominal sepsis, certain infections, and prominently, cancer. Myeloid cells expressing arginase have been shown to accumulate in patients with cancer. Arginase 1 expression is also detected in mononuclear cells after trauma or surgery. MSC efficiently deplete arginine and generate ornithine. Through arginine depletion, MSC may control NO production and regulate other arginine-dependent biological processes. Low circulating arginine has been documented in trauma and cancer, suggesting that MSC may exert a systemic effect and cause a state of arginine deficiency. Simultaneously, T lymphocytes depend on arginine for proliferation, ζ-chain peptide and T-cell receptor complex expression, and the development of memory. T-cells cocultured with MSC exhibit the molecular and functional effects associated with arginine deficiency. Not surprisingly, T-cell abnormalities, including decreased proliferation and loss of the ζ-chain, are observed in cancer and after trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1681S-1686S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume137
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Arginine
Immunity
Myeloid Cells
Arginase
Wounds and Injuries
T-Lymphocytes
Neoplasms
Peptide T
Biological Phenomena
Ornithine
Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
Dietary Supplements
T-Cell Antigen Receptor
Immune System
Sepsis
Nitric Oxide
Cytokines
Amino Acids
Enzymes
Infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Popovic, P. J., Zeh, H. J., & Ochoa, J. B. (2007). Arginine and immunity. Journal of Nutrition, 137(6), 1681S-1686S.

Arginine and immunity. / Popovic, Petar J.; Zeh, Herbert J.; Ochoa, Juan B.

In: Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 137, No. 6, 01.06.2007, p. 1681S-1686S.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Popovic, PJ, Zeh, HJ & Ochoa, JB 2007, 'Arginine and immunity', Journal of Nutrition, vol. 137, no. 6, pp. 1681S-1686S.
Popovic PJ, Zeh HJ, Ochoa JB. Arginine and immunity. Journal of Nutrition. 2007 Jun 1;137(6):1681S-1686S.
Popovic, Petar J. ; Zeh, Herbert J. ; Ochoa, Juan B. / Arginine and immunity. In: Journal of Nutrition. 2007 ; Vol. 137, No. 6. pp. 1681S-1686S.
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