The Importance of Immunonutrition

Editor(s): M. Makrides, J. Ochoa, H. Szajewska NNI Workshop Series (NNIW) Vol.77 , 2013


The 77th NNI workshop on Importance of immunonutrition held from October 28th – November 1st 2012 in Panama city presented the latest findings on how nutrient status can modulate immunity and improve health conditions in pediatric patients. 
Nutrients have tremendous potential to modulate the actions of the immune system, a fact which has significant impact on public health and clinical practice. During the last decade the role of nutrition, beyond providing the calories and the macro and micronutrients for surviving, is well established and clinically proven. The three sessions of this workshop covered major aspects of the interplay between nutrients and the regulation of the immunity and inflammatory process. The first session explored the pharmaceutical value of specific amino acids (arginine and glutamine) and hormones for addressing immune disorders and infant development. The second session revolved around the gut function and immunity, and the right balance of probiotics. The third session explored the role of lipid mediators and how their identities and proportions can tip the balance in favour of health or disease
The chairpersons – Prof. M. Makrides, Prof. J. Ochoa and Prof. H. Szajewska established an excellent scientific workshop program and invited renowned speakers who have further debated and increased the understanding of this important topic through their presentations and participation in discussions. 

  • Arginine and Asthma

    Author(s): C. Morris

    Recent studies suggest that alterations of the arginine metabolome and a dysregulation of nitric oxide (NO) homeostasis play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma. L -Arginine, a semi-essential amino acid, is a common substrate for both the arginases and NO synthase (NOS) enzyme families. NO is an important vasodilator of the bronchial circulation, with both bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory properties, and is synthesized from oxidation of its obligate substrate L -arginine, which is catalyzed by a family of NOS enzymes.
    Arginase is an essential enzyme in the urea cycle, responsible for the conversion of arginine to ornithine and urea. The NOS and arginase enzymes can be expressed simultaneously under a wide variety of inflammatory conditions, resulting in competition for their common substrate. Although much attention has been directed towards measurements of exhaled NO in asthma, accumulating data show that low bioavailability of L -arginine also contributes to inflammation, hyperresponsiveness and remodeling of the asthmatic airway. Aberrant arginine catabolism represents a novel asthma paradigm that involves excess arginase activity, elevated levels of asymmetric dimethyl arginine, altered intracellular arginine transport, and NOS dysfunction. Addressing the alterations in arginine metabolism may result in new strategies for treatment of asthma.

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