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Springerplus. 2013 Nov 26;2:635. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-635.

Cystine and theanine: amino acids as oral immunomodulative nutrients.

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Institute for Innovation, Ajinomoto Co, Inc, 1-1 Suzuki-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa, 210-8681 Japan.


The decreases in the glutathione (GSH) level in the mouse spleen and liver after immune stimulation are suppressed by the oral administration of cystine and theanine (CT). GSH is considered to be important for the control of immune responses. Antibody production in mice after infection is enhanced by the oral administration of CT. In humans, also, the oral administration of CT has been confirmed to enhance antibody production after vaccination against Flu and also reduce the incidence of cold. However, the GSH level is reduced by intense exercise and surgery. In clinical studies of body-builders and long-distance runners, the intake of CT suppressed excessive inflammatory reactions and a decline in immune functions after intense training. Surgery as well as intense exercise induces excessive inflammatory reactions. In mice, the preoperative administration of CT suppressed excessive inflammatory reactions associated with surgery and promoted the postoperative recovery. Moreover, in clinical studies of gastrectomized patients, CT intake suppressed excessive postoperative inflammatory reactions and induced early recovery. If infection is regarded as invasive stress, CT intake is considered to exhibit an immunomodulatory effect by suppressing the decrease in GSH due to invasive stress. The clarification of their detailed action mechanisms and their application as medical or function foods is anticipated.


Cystine; Exercise; Glutathione; Surgery; Theanine; Vaccine

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