Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, is a chronic relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and is difficult to treat. The pathophysiology of IBD is multifactorial and not completely understood, but genetic components, dysregulated immune responses, oxidative stress, and inflammatory mediators are known to be involved. Animal models of IBD can be chemically induced, and are used to study etiology and to evaluate potential treatments of IBD. Currently available IBD treatments can decrease the duration of active disease but because of their adverse effects, the search for novel therapeutic strategies that can restore intestinal homeostasis continues. This review summarizes and discusses what is currently known of the effects of amino acids on the reduction of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell death in the gut when IBD is present. Recent studies in animal models have identified dietary amino acids that improve IBD, but amino acid supplementation may not be adequate to replace conventional therapy. The animal models used in dietary amino acid research in IBD are described.
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