IMR Press / FBE / Volume 3 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/E322

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Specific roles of threonine in intestinal mucosal integrity and barrier function
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1 State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China 100193
2 Department of Animal Science, Texas A and M University, College station, TX, USA 77843

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Guoyao Wu

Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2011, 3(4), 1192–1200;
Published: 1 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

Threonine is the second or third limiting amino acid in swine or poultry diets. This nutrient plays a critical role in the maintenance of intestinal mucosal integrity and barrier function, which can be indicated by intestinal morphology, mucus production (number of goblet cells), transepithelial permeability, brush border enzyme activity, and growth performance. Dietary threonine restriction may decrease the production of digestive enzymes and increase mucosal paracellular permeability. A large proportion of dietary threonine is utilized for intestinal-mucosal protein synthesis, especially for mucin synthesis, and there is no oxidation of threonine by enterocytes. Because mucin proteins cannot be digested and reused, intestinal mucin secretion is a net loss of threonine from the body. Luminal threonine availability can influence synthesis of intestinal mucins and other proteins. Under pathological conditions, such as ileitis and sepsis, threonine requirement may be increased to maintain intestinal morphology and physiology. Collectively, knowledge about the role of threonine in mucin synthesis is critical for improving gut health under physiological and pathological conditions in animals and humans.

Intestinl mucosal
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