Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid was discovered as the cure for chick pellagra. Pantothenic acid deficiencies have been reported only as a result of feeding semisynthetic diets or an antagonist to the vitamin.[2] Pantothenic acid is the compound N-(2,4-dihydroxy-3,3-dimethyl-l-oxobutyl)-beta-alanine, also known as pantoyl-beta-alanine.[1]

Pantothenic acid is found in feedstuffs in the form of coenzyme A (CoA), acyl CoA synthetase, and acyl carrier protein. CoA is hydrolyzed in the intestinal lumen to pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid crosses the intestinal lumen into the bloodstream by a specific sodium-dependent transport system at low concentrations. When pantothenic acid is present in the diet at higher concentrations, it is absorbed from the intestinal lumen by simple diffusion. Pantothenic acid in the bloodstream is cotrans-ported with sodium across the cell membrane and is converted back into CoA.[1'2'7]

Pantothenic acid, in the form of pantotheine, is the functional group of the biologically active coenzyme A (CoA), acyl carrier protein, and guanosine 5'-triphosphate (GTP)-dependent acyl CoA synthetase. CoA functions as a carrier of acyl groups in enzymatic reactions involved in biological acetylations and in the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol, sphingosine, citrate, acetoacetate, porphyrins, and sterols, as well as in the oxidation of fatty acids, pyruvate, and alpha-ketoglutarate. Pantothenic acid, in the form of 4'-phosphopantotheine, is incorporated into acyl carrier protein, which acts as an acyl carrier in fatty acid synthesis and is also the prosthetic group of GTP-de-pendent acyl CoA synthetase, which converts succinyl CoA to GTP plus CoA.[2,7] The biosynthesis of the amino acids leucine, arginine, and methionine include a pantothenate-dependent step. Pantothenate donates the acetate to the N-terminal amino acid of proteins during protein synthesis.[8]

The primary symptom of a pantothenic acid deficiency in growing swine is an abnormal gait in the hind legs referred to as goose stepping.[9] Other deficiency symptoms include reduced growth, anorexia, diarrhea, dry skin, rough hair coat, alopecia, and reduced immune response.[1] Gestating and lactating gilts fed a low pantothenic acid diet developed fatty livers, enlarged adrenal glands, intramuscular hemorrhage, eccentric dilatation of the heart, rectal congestion, atrophic ovaries, and infantile uteri.[10]

Pantothenic acid is widely distributed in nature and is essential for all forms of life.[2,7] The content of pantothenic acid has been shown to be highly available in barley, wheat, and soybean meal, but it is low in corn and grain sorghum.[11] For this reason, synthetic pantothenic acid is typically added to monogastric diets in the form of calcium pantothenate. Only the d-isomer of pantothenic acid is biologically available. The d-form of calcium pantothenate has a bioavailability of 92%, whereas the racemic mixture (dl) has only 46% bioavailability.1-12-1 Pantothenic acid is relatively stable at a neutral pH. However, cooking is reported to destroy 15 50% of the vitamin in meat, and the processing of vegetables was associated with a loss of 37 78% of the vitamin.[13]

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