Skip to main content

Arginine metabolism in a small animal model of sepsis and after hemihepatectomy


Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an inhibitor of the arginine–NO pathway. ADMA accumulates when degradation in the liver by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase is impaired. In theory, plasma citrulline, formed when arginine is converted by NO synthase, and when ADMA is metabolized, would be lowered and ornithine, formed by the degradation of arginine in the urea cycle, would be potentially elevated when ADMA accumulates as in sepsis and in liver failure [1].


Fourteen male Wistar rats were randomly allocated to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or hemihepatectomy (HH). Plasma levels of arginine, ADMA, citrulline and ornithine were measured before and 120 minutes after 5 mg/kg LPS and HH, respectively.


See Table 1.

Table 1 Results


Plasma levels of arginine and derivatives should not be interpreted as a reflection of metabolism at the tissue level. In HH, the elevated ADMA levels suggest dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase activity depends on the liver tissue mass.


  1. Wu G, et al.: Arginine metabolism: nitric oxide and beyond. Biochem J 1998, 336: 1-17.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hoven, B.V.d., Teerlink, T., De Jong, S. et al. Arginine metabolism in a small animal model of sepsis and after hemihepatectomy. Crit Care 13 (Suppl 1), P133 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Plasma Level
  • Arginine
  • Liver Tissue
  • Liver Failure
  • Ornithine