Recent Progress on Branched-Chain Amino Acids in Obesity, Diabetes, and Beyond
Siddik, Md Abu
Shin, Andrew C. (TTU)
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Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids that are not synthesized in our body; thus, they need to be obtained from food. They have shown to provide many physiological and metabolic benefits such as stimulation of pancreatic insulin secretion, milk production, adipogenesis, and enhanced immune function, among others, mainly mediated by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. After identified as a reliable marker of obesity and type 2 diabetes in recent years, an increasing number of studies have surfaced implicating BCAAs in the pathophysiology of other diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease. Here we discuss the most recent progress and review studies highlighting both correlational and potentially causative role of BCAAs in the development of these disorders. Although we are just beginning to understand the intricate relationships between BCAAs and some of the most prevalent chronic diseases, current findings raise a possibility that they are linked by a similar putative mechanism.