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Open AccessReview

Branched Chain Amino Acids: Beyond Nutrition Metabolism

by Cunxi Nie 1,2, Ting He 1, Wenju Zhang 2, Guolong Zhang 3,* and Xi Ma 1,4,*
State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, No. 2. Yuanmingyuan West Road, Beijing 100193, China
College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University, No. 221. Beisi Road, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832003, China
Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 954;
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino Acids Transport and Metabolism)
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine (Leu), isoleucine (Ile), and valine (Val), play critical roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis, nutrition metabolism, gut health, immunity and disease in humans and animals. As the most abundant of essential amino acids (EAAs), BCAAs are not only the substrates for synthesis of nitrogenous compounds, they also serve as signaling molecules regulating metabolism of glucose, lipid, and protein synthesis, intestinal health, and immunity via special signaling network, especially phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/AKT/mTOR) signal pathway. Current evidence supports BCAAs and their derivatives as the potential biomarkers of diseases such as insulin resistance (IR), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cancer, and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). These diseases are closely associated with catabolism and balance of BCAAs. Hence, optimizing dietary BCAA levels should have a positive effect on the parameters associated with health and diseases. This review focuses on recent findings of BCAAs in metabolic pathways and regulation, and underlying the relationship of BCAAs to related disease processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: branch chain amino acids (BCAAs); amino acid metabolism; PI3K-AKT-mTOR; biomarkers; insulin resistance; metabolic diseases branch chain amino acids (BCAAs); amino acid metabolism; PI3K-AKT-mTOR; biomarkers; insulin resistance; metabolic diseases
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nie, C.; He, T.; Zhang, W.; Zhang, G.; Ma, X. Branched Chain Amino Acids: Beyond Nutrition Metabolism. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 954.

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