L-serine: a naturally-occurring amino acid with therapeutic potential

J. Metcalf, R. A. Dunlop, J. T. Powell, S. A. Banack, P. A. Cox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In human neuroblastoma cell cultures, non-human primates and human beings, L-serine is neuroprotective, acting through a variety of biochemical and molecular mechanisms. Although L-serine is generally classified as a non-essential amino acid, it is probably more appropriate to term it as a “conditional non-essential amino acid” since, under certain circumstances, vertebrates cannot synthesize it in sufficient quantities to meet necessary cellular demands. L-serine is biosynthesized in the mammalian central nervous system from 3-phosphoglycerate and serves as a precursor for the synthesis of the amino acids glycine and cysteine. Physiologically, it has a variety of roles, perhaps most importantly as a phosphorylation site in proteins. Mutations in the metabolic enzymes that synthesize L-serine have been implicated in various human diseases. Dosing of animals with L-serine and human clinical trials investigating the therapeutic effects of L-serine support the FDA’s determination that L-serine is generally regarded as safe (GRAS); it also appears to be neuroprotective. We here consider the role of L-serine in neurological disorders and its potential as a therapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • L-serine
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Therapy

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