Changes in arginine metabolism during sepsis and critical illness in children. Conference Paper uri icon


  • Arginine is an important amino acid during disease and healing because of functions in the immune system and as precursor of nitric oxide (NO). In critically ill adults and children, plasma arginine and citrulline concentrations are substantially decreased, indicating an arginine-deficient state. Arginine availability is reduced because of increased arginine disposal in combination with reduced de novo arginine synthesis. The latter is most likely caused by reduced citrulline availability. As a result, NO synthesis may be impaired, which might compromise microcirculation. These metabolic changes seem to be dependent on the severity of inflammation. Arginine or citrulline supplementation in severe inflammation might therefore be beneficial. Possibly, the use of protein-energy-enriched formulas may be a first step to improve arginine availability and NO synthesis. In critically ill children, arginine metabolism and supplementation is however a virtually unexplored field. Since pediatric sepsis is a significant health problem, which differs in epidemiology and pathophysiology from sepsis in adults, and because of the scarcity of data in this population, studies focused on pathophysiological mechanisms and possible interventions in arginine metabolism in pediatric critical illness are warranted.

published proceedings

  • Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser

author list (cited authors)

  • de Betue, C., & Deutz, N.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • de Betue, Carlijn TI||Deutz, Nicolaas EP

publication date

  • January 2013