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J Physiol. 1996 Mar 1;491 ( Pt 2):471-7.

Arginine metabolism in cat kidney.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire, CNRS URA 219, Coll├Ęge de France, Paris.


1. Arginine is essential for growth in the kitten and, because of the resulting hyperammonaemia, in the adult cat an arginine-free diet is life threatening. 2. The kidney is the main site of arginine synthesis. 3. This study was performed to determine whether the cat kidney synthesizes arginine and to establish which factors, such as low citrullinaemia, defects of argininosuccinate synthase and lyase activities or high renal arginase activity, might limit renal arginine production. 4. Identified nephron segments were isolated by microdissection from collagenase-treated cat kidney. 5. Arginine metabolism was studied by incubating the nephron segments with either physiological concentrations of L-[ureido-14C]citrulline (anabolism) or L-[guanido-14C]-arginine (catabolism). Arginine and urea were measured by a micro-enzymatic method. Amino acids were measured by HPLC. 6. In cat blood, the citrulline, but not the arginine, concentration was very low by comparison with other species. 7. Arginine synthesis occurred almost entirely in the proximal tubule, the highest rate occurring in the proximal convoluted tubule and the lowest in the medullary straight proximal tubule. 8. Arginase activity was restricted to the proximal tubule. Urea production increased from the convoluted towards the medullary straight tubule. 9. The limited capacity of the cat kidney to produce arginine in vivo may result from the low blood concentration of citrulline and from the high arginase activity in the various proximal cells with the ability to synthesize arginine.

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