Amino Acids

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 685–691 | Cite as

Citrulline and nitrogen homeostasis: an overview

  • C. BreuillardEmail author
  • L. Cynober
  • C. Moinard
Review Article


Citrulline (Cit) is a non-essential amino acid whose metabolic properties were largely ignored until the last decade when it began to emerge as a highly promising nutrient with many regulatory properties, with a key role in nitrogen homeostasis. Because Cit is not taken up by the liver, its synthesis from arginine, glutamine, ornithine and proline in the intestine prevents the hepatic uptake of the two first amino acids which activate the urea cycle and so prevents amino acid catabolism. This sparing effect may have positive spin-off for muscle via increased protein synthesis, protein content and functionality. However, the mechanisms of action of Cit are not fully known, even if preliminary data suggest an implication of mTOR pathway. Further exploration is needed to gain a complete overview of the role of Cit in the control of nitrogen homeostasis.


Citrulline Amino acids Protein turnover Muscle Liver 


Conflict of interest

C. Breuillard, L. Cynober and C. Moinard are shareholders of Citrage Company®.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie de la Nutrition, EA 4466, Faculté de PharmacieUniversité Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris CitéParis Cedex 06France
  2. 2.Service de Biochimie, Hôpital Cochin, AP-HPHôpitaux Universitaires Paris CentreParisFrance

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