Citrulline and nitrogen homeostasis: an overview

Abstract

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.

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Conflict of interest

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

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Breuillard, C., Cynober, L. & Moinard, C. Citrulline and nitrogen homeostasis: an overview. Amino Acids 47, 685–691 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-015-1932-2

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Keywords

  • Citrulline
  • Amino acids
  • Protein turnover
  • Muscle
  • Liver