Microbial Degradation of bAspartylglycine

The biochemical background for the presence of b-aspartylglycine in feces is probably as follows: host-derived intestinal proteolytic enzymes break down some dietary proteins to the b-carboxyl dipeptide b-aspartylglycine. The b-carboxyl dipeptide bonds are then cleaved by proteases derived from microbes (40). This is substantiated by findings in germfree animals: lambs, piglets, rats, and mice. In feces from germ-free lambs and piglets (Welling, personal communication), and adult germ-free rats and mice (41) b-aspartyl-glycine is always found in germ-free rats and mice, whereas never in samples from their conventional counterparts. Thus, the presence or absence of b-aspartylglycine represents a functional parameter, depending on the presence of dietary precursors, the presence of host-derived proteolytic enzymes, and the presence/absence of microbial derived proteolytic enzymes. Previously it has been shown that the amount of b-aspartylglycine gradually diminishes in feces from ex-germ-free mice, as the number of microbes in their GI microbiota gradually increases (8). This dipeptide has been suggested as an indicator for colonization resistance i.e., a barrier against opportunistic pathogens and other microbes (42). Thus, presence of the dipeptide b-aspartylglycine in feces indicates that the normal intestinal microbial ecosystem is seriously altered.

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