L-Glutamine and L-arginine protect against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infection via intestinal innate immunity in mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dietary glutamine (Gln) or arginine (Arg) supplementation is beneficial for intestinal health; however, whether Gln or Arg may confer protection against Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infection is not known. To address this, we used an ETEC-infected murine model to investigate the protective effects of Gln and Arg. Experimentally, we pre-treated mice with designed diet of Gln or Arg supplementation prior to the oral ETEC infection and then assessed mouse mortality and intestinal bacterial burden. We also determined the markers of intestinal innate immunity in treated mice, including secretory IgA response (SIgA), mucins from goblet cells, as well as antimicrobial peptides from Paneth cells. ETEC colonized in mouse small intestine, including duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, and inhibited the mRNA expression of intestinal immune factors, such as polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), cryptdin-related sequence 1C (CRS1C), and Reg3γ. We found that dietary Gln or Arg supplementation decreased bacterial colonization and promoted the activation of innate immunity (e.g., the mRNA expression of pIgR, CRS1C, and Reg3γ) in the intestine of ETEC-infected mice. Our results suggest that dietary arginine or glutamine supplementation may inhibit intestinal ETEC infection through intestinal innate immunity.

publication date

  • December 2017