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Conventional therapies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have demonstrated limited efficacy and potential toxicity; therefore, there is a need for novel therapies that can safely and effectively treat IBD. Recent evidence has indicated that amino acids may play a role in maintaining gut health. L-tryptophan has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and improve neurological states. The objective of this study was to assess the therapeutic effects of L-tryptophan in a porcine model of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. DSS was administered to piglets via intragastric catheter for 5 days followed by tryptophan administration at 80% of the daily recommended intake. The severity of colitis was assessed macroscopically and histopathologically, and intestinal permeability was monitored in vivo by D-mannitol analysis. The effect of tryptophan on the local expression of key mediators of inflammation and IBD pathogenesis was examined at the protein and gene expression levels. Supplementation with tryptophan ameliorated clinical symptoms and improved weight gain to feed intake conversion ratios. Histological scores and measurements were also improved, and gut permeability was notably reduced in tryptophan-supplemented animals. Moreover, tryptophan reduced the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, interferon (IFN)-gamma, IL-12p40, IL-1beta and IL-17, as well as IL-8 and intracellular adhesion molecule-1, and resulted in increased expression of apoptosis initiators caspase-8 and Bax. These results demonstrate that L-tryptophan supplementation can reduce inflammation and enhance the rate of recovery in DSS-induced colitis and may be an effective immunomodulating agent for the treatment of IBD. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Connie J Kim, Jennifer A Kovacs-Nolan, Chengbo Yang, Tania Archbold, Ming Z Fan, Yoshinori Mine. l-Tryptophan exhibits therapeutic function in a porcine model of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. 2010 Jun;21(6):468-75

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PMID: 19428234

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