L-Arginine stimulates the mTOR signaling pathway and protein synthesis in porcine trophectoderm cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Impairment of placental growth is a major factor contributing to intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) in both human pregnancy and animal production. Results of recent studies indicate that administration of L-arginine (Arg) to gestating pigs or sheep with IUGR fetuses can enhance fetal growth. However, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. The present study tested the hypothesis that Arg stimulates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway and protein synthesis in porcine conceptus trophectoderm (pTr2) cells. The cells were cultured for 4 days in Arg-free Dulbecco's modified Eagle's Ham medium containing 10, 50, 100, 200, 350 or 500 M Arg. Cell numbers, protein synthesis and degradation, as well as total and phosphorylated levels of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (p70S6K) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein-1 (4EBP1), were determined. The pTr2 cells exhibited time (0-6 days)- and Arg concentration (10-350 M)-dependent increases in proliferation. Addition of 100 and 350 M Arg to culture medium dose-dependently increased (a) protein synthesis and decreased protein degradation and (b) the abundance of total and phosphorylated mTOR, p70S6K and 4EBP1 proteins. Effects of 350 M Arg on intracellular protein turnover were only modestly affected when nitric oxide synthesis was inhibited. Collectively, these results indicate a novel and important role for Arg in promoting growth of porcine placental cells largely via a nitric-oxide-independent pathway. Additionally, these findings help to explain beneficial effects of Arg supplementation on improving survival and growth of embryos/fetuses in mammals.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr Biochem

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kong, X., Tan, B., Yin, Y., Gao, H., Li, X., Jaeger, L. A., Bazer, F. W., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 116

complete list of authors

  • Kong, Xiangfeng||Tan, Bie||Yin, Yulong||Gao, Haijun||Li, Xilong||Jaeger, Laurie A||Bazer, Fuller W||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • September 2012