IMR Press / FBL / Volume 16 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.2741/3783

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (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.

Open Access Article
Alpha-Ketoglutarate and intestinal function
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1 Hubei key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan 430023, China.
2 Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China
3 State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China 100193
4 Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA
Academic Editor:Guoyao Wu
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2011, 16(3), 1186–1196;
Published: 1 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is an intermediate of the Krebs cycle which bridges amino acid metabolism with glucose oxidation in animals. Of particular interest is the conversion of AKG into glutamate by mitochondrial glutamate dehydrogenase in the gastrointestinal tract where glutamate has multiple physiological functions (including regulation of cell function, neurotransmission, and gastric emptying). Additionally, AKG stimulates the initiation of catabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) via BCAA transaminase in enterocytes. Oxidation of AKG also provides large amounts of ATP and modulates cellular redox state in the small intestine. Translating the basic research into practice, results of recent studies indicate that dietary supplementation with AKG alleviates oxidative stress and injury in intestinal mucosal cells, while improving intestinal mucosal integrity and absorption of nutrients in endotoxin-challenged pigs. The beneficial effects of AKG are associated with increased activation of the mTOR signaling pathway and net protein synthesis. Thus, AKG is a novel and promising supplement in diets to improve intestinal health in animals and possibly humans.

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