Branched chain amino acids are the essential nutrients for humans and many animals. As functional amino acids, they play important roles in physiological functions, including immune functions. Isoleucine, as one of the branched chain amino acids, is also critical in physiological functions of the whole body, such as growth, immunity, protein metabolism, fatty acid metabolism and glucose transportation. Isoleucine can improve the immune system, including immune organs, cells and reactive substances. Recent studies have also shown that isoleucine may induce the expression of host defense peptides (i.e., β-defensins) that can regulate host innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, isoleucine administration can restore the effect of some pathogens on the health of humans and animals via increasing the expression of β-defensins. Therefore, the present review will emphatically discuss the effect of isoleucine on immunity while summarizing the relationship between branched chain amino acids and immune functions.
Keywords: ERK pathway; Isoleucine; TLR/NF-κB pathway; branched chain amino acids; immune system; β-defensins..
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