T

Nitric oxide

(vasodilation, antimicrobial, neurotransmission)

Agmatine Creatin (cell signaling) (energy source skeletal muscle and neurons)

Figure 1 Specific functions of arginine metabolism.

synthesis of functional products, but also is a potent stimulus for the release of several hormones, such as insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and growth hormone, illustrating its pharmacological characteristics.

Arginine can be synthesized by the body from citrulline. However, since virtually all arginine produced in the liver is trapped within the urea cycle, the kidney is the only arginine-synthesizing organ that significantly contributes to the total body pool of free arginine. Diminished renal arginine synthesis has been found in patients with renal failure and in highly catabolic conditions, like sepsis, burn injury, or trauma (which may be related to concomitant renal failure). In these situations arginine may be considered a conditionally essential amino acid and it has been suggested that arginine supplementation can become useful in these situations.

Citrulline is formed from glutamine, glutamic acid, and proline in the intestine. Plasma citrulline concentration reflects intestinal metabolic function and has recently been introduced as a potential marker for (reduced) enterocyte mass.

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