Arginine and ornithine kinetics in severely burned patients: Increased rate of arginine disposal

Yong Ming Yu, Colleen M. Ryan, Leticia Castillo, Xiao Ming Lu, Louis Beaumier, Ronald G. Tompkins, Vernon R. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Arginine serves multiple roles in the pathophysiological response to burn injury. Our previous studies in burn patients demonstrated a limited net rate of arginine de novo synthesis despite a significantly increased arginine turnover (flux), suggesting that this amino acid is a conditionally indispensable amino acid after major burns. This study used [15N2-guanidino-5,5-2H2]arginine and [5-13C]ornithine as tracers to assess the rate of arginine disposal via its conversion to and subsequent oxidation of ornithine; [5,52H2]proline and [5,5,5-2H3]leucine were also used to assess proline and protein kinetics. Nine severely burned patients were studied during a protein-free fast ("basal" or fast) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) feedings. Compared with values from healthy volunteers, burn injury significantly increased 1) fluxes of arginine, ornithine, leucine, and proline; 2) arginine-to-ornithine conversion; 3) ornithine oxidation; and 4) arginine oxidation. TPN increased arginine-to-ornithine conversion and proportionally increased irreversible arginine oxidation. The elevated arginine oxidation, with limited net de novo synthesis from its immediate precursors, further implies that arginine is a conditionally indispensable amino acid in severely burned patients receiving TPN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E509-E517
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3 43-3
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal phase
  • De novo synthesis
  • Leucine
  • Oxidation
  • Total parental nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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