Open Access
Channelling of arginine in NO and polyamine pathways in colonocytes and consequences
Francois Blachier1,Anne Marie Davila1,Robert Benamouzig1,Daniel Tome1
INRA, AgroParisTech, CRNH-IdF, UMR 914 Nutrition Physiology and Ingestive Behavior, 16 rue Claude Bernard, Paris, France.
DOI: 10.2741/3792 Volume 16 Issue 4, pp.1331-1343
Published: 01 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

Colon epithelium is renewed within few days through asymmetric mitosis of pluripotent cells followed by differentiation and exfoliation. Absorptive colonocytes do not transport amino acids from lumen to bloodstream but import amino acids from plasma. Among amino acids, colonocytes can use L-arginine as a precursor for nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and also for polyamine synthesis through the stepwise conversion of L-arginine into L-ornithine and urea, conversion of L-ornithine into putrescine and then synthesis of spermidine and spermine. Colonic epithelial cells can transport polyamines produced exogenously by the microbiota. Polyamines are strictly necessary for undifferentiated colonic epithelial cell proliferation but NO exerts anti-proliferative effect on these cells raising the view that the channelling of arginine in the nitric oxide and polyamine pathways is involved in the control of cellular proliferation. Furthermore, NO has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase activity in colonic epithelial cells. Unbalance of the chanelling of arginine in the NO and polyamine pathways in colonic cancerous epithelial cells as a determinant promoting their proliferation is discussed.

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Francois Blachier, Anne Marie Davila, Robert Benamouzig, Daniel Tome. Channelling of arginine in NO and polyamine pathways in colonocytes and consequences. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2011. 16(4); 1331-1343.