Serum amino acids profile and the beneficial effects of L-arginine or L-glutamine supplementation in dextran sulfate sodium colitis

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 5;9(2):e88335. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088335. eCollection 2014.


This study was conducted to investigate serum amino acids profile in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis, and impacts of graded dose of arginine or glutamine supplementation on the colitis. Using DSS-induced colitis model, which is similar to human ulcerative colitis, we determined serum profile of amino acids at day 3, 7, 10 and 12 (5 days post DSS treatment). Meanwhile, effects of graded dose of arginine (0.4%, 0.8%, and 1.5%) or glutamine (0.5%, 1.0% and 2.0%) supplementation on clinical parameters, serum amino acids, colonic tight junction proteins, colonic anti-oxidative indicators [catalase, total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px)], colonic pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-17 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)] in DSS-induced colitis were fully analyzed at day 7 and 12. Additionally, the activation of signal transduction pathways, including nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), phosphoinositide-3-kinases (PI3K)/PI3K-protein kinase B (Akt), and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK)-myosin light chain (MLC20), were analyzed using immunoblotting. Serum amino acids analysis showed that DSS treatment changed the serum contents of amino acids, such as Trp, Glu, and Gln (P<0.05). Dietary arginine or glutamine supplementation had significant (P<0.05) influence on the clinical and biochemical parameters (T-SOD, IL-17 and TNF-α) in colitis model. These results were associated with colonic NF-κB, PI3K-Akt and MLCK signaling pathways. In conclusion, arginine or glutamine could be a potential therapy for intestinal inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Animals
  • Arginine / therapeutic use*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Colitis / blood*
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / diet therapy*
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Glutamine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases


  • Amino Acids
  • Cytokines
  • Glutamine
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Arginine
  • Catalase
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases

Grant support

This study was in part supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB127301, 2012CB124704), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31110103909,30901040, 31272463, 30928018, and 31101729), National Scientific and Technology Support Project (2011BAD26B002-5), and Strategical scientific and technological research projects of emerging industries in Hunan Province (2011GK4061, to T.J. Li). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.