Plasma citrulline may be a good marker of intestinal functions in intestinal dysfunction

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Plasma citrulline has been reported to be a good indicator of intestinal functional volume in patients with intestinal dysfunction. We reconfirmed the facts and also investigated the dynamic changes of plasma citrulline in acute-phase patients with intestinal dysfunction.


We measured plasma citrulline in six patients with intestinal dysfunction who were in the acute and chronic phase for more than 6 months.


Four patients out of six could be withdrawn from total parenteral nutrition, and their plasma citrulline level dynamically changed according to their intestinal states and finally increased up to 15 nmol/mL. Two patients, who could not be withdrawn from parenteral nutrition, showed very low levels of plasma citrulline throughout the treatment course (under 15 nmol/mL).


The cut-off level of plasma citrulline indicating permanent intestinal dysfunction may be 15 nmol/mL in our data. In the acute phase, plasma citrulline changed dynamically according to the intestinal state and may be a good indicator of fluctuating intestinal functions. Thus, although only a few patients were enrolled in this study, plasma citrulline may be a good indicator of stable-state as well as acute-unstable-state intestinal functions.

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