Amino Acids

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 1277–1291 | Cite as

Roles of amino acids in preventing and treating intestinal diseases: recent studies with pig models

Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Cellular, Organoid and Animal Models in Therapeutics


Animal models are needed to study and understand a human complex disease. Because of their similarities in anatomy, structure, physiology, and pathophysiology, the pig has proven its usefulness in studying human gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, ischemia/reperfusion injury, diarrhea, and cancer. To understand the pathogenesis of these diseases, a number of experimental models generated in pigs are available, for example, through surgical manipulation, chemical induction, microbial infection, and genetic engineering. Our interests have been using amino acids as therapeutics in pig and human disease models. Amino acids not only play an important role in protein biosynthesis, but also exert significant physiological effects in regulating immunity, anti-oxidation, redox regulation, energy metabolism, signal transduction, and animal behavior. Recent studies in pigs have shown that specific dietary amino acids can improve intestinal integrity and function under normal and pathological conditions that protect the host from different diseases. In this review, we summarize several pig models in intestinal diseases and how amino acids can be used as therapeutics in treating pig and human diseases.


Pig models Intestinal disease Amino acids Therapeutics 



Protein kinase B


AMP-activated protein kinase


Adenomatous polyposis coli


Branched-chain amino acids


Colorectal cancer


Corticotropin-releasing hormone


Diamine oxidase


Dextran sodium sulphate


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase


Familial adenomatous polyposis




Inflammatory bowel disease






Mammalian target of rapamycin




Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain protein




Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase




Reactive oxygen species


Toll-like receptor


Trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid


Tumor necrosis factor


Zonula occludens



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31372318 and 31422053) and State’s Key Project of Research and Development Plan (2016YFD0501210).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Hence, no informed consent was required for any part of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yulan Liu
    • 1
  • Xiuying Wang
    • 1
  • Yongqing Hou
    • 1
  • Yulong Yin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yinsheng Qiu
    • 1
  • Guoyao Wu
    • 4
  • Chien-An Andy Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Animal Nutrition and Feed Safety, Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed ScienceWuhan Polytechnic UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Health and Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecology, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureThe Chinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina
  3. 3.Institute of Life SciencesHuman Normal UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of New Mexico School of MedicineAlbuquerqueUSA

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