Abscisic Acid

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ABA has also been found to be present in metazoans, from sponges up to mammals including humans. Currently, its biosynthesis and biological role in animals is poorly known. ABA has recently been shown to elicit potent anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects in mouse models of diabetes/obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis and influenza infection. Many biological effects in animals have been studied using ABA as a nutraceutical or pharmacognostic drug, but ABA is also generated endogenously by some cells (like macrophages) when stimulated. There are also conflicting conclusions from different studies, where some claim that ABA is essential for pro-inflammatory responses whereas other show anti-inflammatory effects. Like with many natural substances with medical properties, ABA has become popular also in naturopathy. While ABA clearly has beneficial biological activities and many naturopathic remedies will contain high levels of ABA (such as wheatgrass juice, fruits and vegetables), some of the health claims made may be exaggerated or overly optimistic. In mammalian cells ABA targets a protein known as lanthionine synthetase C-like 2 (LANCL2), triggering an alternative mechanism of activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma). LANCL2 is conserved in plants and was originally suggested to be an ABA receptor also in plants, which was later challenged.