L-theanine (N-ethyl-γ-glutamine) is the main amino acid in tea leaves. It not only contributes to tea flavor but also possesses several health benefits. Compared with its sedative and calming activities, the immunomodulatory effects of L-theanine have received less attention. Clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that L-theanine reduces immunosuppression caused by strenuous exercise and prevents colds and influenza by improving immunity. Numerous cell and animal studies have proven that theanine plays an immunoregulatory role in inflammation, nerve damage, the intestinal tract, and tumors by regulating γδT lymphocyte function, glutathione (GSH) synthesis, and the secretion of cytokines and neurotransmitters. In addition, theanine can be used as an immunomodulator in animal production. This article reviews the research progress of L-theanine on immunoregulation and related mechanisms, as well as its application in poultry and animal husbandry. It is hoped that this work will be beneficial to future related research.
Keywords: L-theanine; application; immunoregulation; mechanism.