Dietary Nutrients Mediate Intestinal Host Defense Peptide Expression

Jianmin Wu, Ning Ma, Lee J. Johnston, Xi Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The intestinal tract is the shared locus of intestinal epithelial cells, immune cells, nutrient digestion and absorption, and microbial survival. The gut in animals faces continuous challenges in communicating with the external environment. Threats from endogenous imbalance and exogenous feeds, especially pathogens, could trigger a disorder of homeostasis, leading to intestinal disease and even systematic disease risk. As a part of the intestinal protective barrier, endogenous host defense peptides (HDPs) play multiple beneficial physiological roles in the gut mucosa. Moreover, enhancing endogenous HDPs is being developed as a new strategy for resisting pathogens and commensal microbes, and to maintain intestinal health and reduce antibiotic use. In recent years, multiple nutrients such as branched-chain amino acids, SCFAs, lactose, zinc, and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) have been reported to significantly increase HDP expression. Nutritional intervention has received more attention and is viewed as a promising means to defend against pathogenic infections and intestinal inflammation. The present review focuses on current discoveries surrounding HDP expression and nutritional regulation of mechanisms in the gut. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive overview, referable tactics, and novel opinions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • antibiotic alternative
  • gut
  • host defense peptides
  • inflammation
  • nutrients
  • pathogens

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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