Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA: leucine, isoleucine and valine) are not just structural constituents of proteins, but have ''pharmacologic'' properties, known for several years: BCAA are catabolized mainly in muscle; can be oxidized with energy production, being nitrogen donors for other amino acids; regulate protein synthesis and degradation; modulate metabolism of neuroactive mediators. These properties make the clinical use of BCAA particularly suitable in critical conditions such as liver cirrhosis, sepsis, surgical or nonsurgical trauma, acute renal failure, acute pancreatitis, cancer, in which energy production from conventional substrates is altered and, at the same time, reduction of protein catabolism and enhancement of synthetic processes is advisable. Recently, the changes of plasma aminoacidograms induced by the administration of high-dose BCAA in sepsis have been better detailed: 1) a tendency to normalization of high levels of proline and of other amino acids transported intracellularly by transport system ''A''; 2) less relevant reduction of the levels of other amino acids; 3) increase of the levels of taurine, glutamate and aspartate; more complex interactions with specific amino acids. These changes, and changes of other variables, reconfirm in part some well-known properties of BCAA, and are also objective indicators of an improvement of the metabolic abnormalities of sepsis induced by BCAA administration. In sepsis and in other stress conditions it is recommended to administer, within balanced parenteral nutritional regimens, AA solutions with a 35-50% BCAA concentration.
Guédon, E., & Martin-Verstraete, I. (2006). Cysteine Metabolism and Its Regulation in Bacteria. In Amino Acid Biosynthesis ~ Pathways, Regulation and Metabolic Engineering (pp. 195–218). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/7171_2006_060
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