Pharmacokinetics and safety of arginine supplementation in animals. Academic Article uri icon


  • Anticipating the future use of arginine to enhance fetal and neonatal growth as well as to treat diabetes and obesity, we performed studies in pigs, rats, and sheep to determine the pharmacokinetics of orally or i.v. administered arginine and the safety of its chronic supplementation. Our results indicate that all 3 species rapidly catabolized the supplemental arginine. The elevated circulating concentrations of arginine generally returned to baseline levels within 4-5 h after administration, with the rates varying with the age and physiological status of the animals. The clearance of arginine was greater in pregnant than in nonpregnant animals, in young than in adult animals, in lean than in obese animals, and in type-1 diabetic than in nondiabetic animals. I.v. administration of arginine-HCl to pregnant ewes (at least 0.081 g body weight-1.d-1) did not result in any undesirable treatment-related effect. Neonatal pigs, growing-finishing pigs, pregnant pigs, and adult rats tolerated large amounts of chronic supplemental arginine (e.g. 0.62, 0.32, 0.21, and 2.14 body weight-1.d-1, respectively) administered via enteral diets without the appearance of any adverse effect. On the basis of the comparative studies and a consideration of species differences in food intake per kilogram body weight, we estimate that a 70-kg human subject should be able to tolerate long-term parenteral and enteral supplemental doses of 6 and 15 g/d arginine, respectively, in addition to a basal amount of arginine (4-6 g/d) from regular diets.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, G., Bazer, F. W., Cudd, T. A., Jobgen, W. S., Kim, S. W., Lassala, A., ... Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 132

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Guoyao||Bazer, Fuller W||Cudd, Timothy A||Jobgen, Wenjuan S||Kim, Sung Woo||Lassala, Arantzatzu||Li, Peng||Matis, James H||Meininger, Cynthia J||Spencer, Thomas E

publication date

  • June 2007