Analytical biochemistry

N-Carbamoylputrescine, a citrulline-derived polyamine, is not a significant citrulline metabolite in rats.

PMID 22266292


Citrulline, a key amino acid of the urea cycle, has been shown to play a regulatory role in protein and energy metabolism in mammals. We questioned whether N-carbamoyl-putrescine (NCP), the decarboxylated derivative of citrulline, could play a role in the biological properties of this amino acid. To evidence the presence of NCP in mammalian tissues, we developed a sensitive reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorimetric detection method with precolumn dansyl derivatization and solid-phase extraction for the determination of NCP together with polyamines in biological samples. Dansyl NCP was identified with a 5.85-min retention time. Linearity was obtained in a concentration range of 0.125 to 12.5 μM. Intraday and day-to-day relative coefficients of variation ranged from 8.9% to 12.3% and from 14% to 14.3%, respectively. Recovery rates in serum ranged from 75% to 83%. Thereafter, we used this method to search for the presence of NCP in serum, muscle, liver, jejunum, and ileum in rats after both short-term intraperitoneal injection and long-term oral citrulline supplementation. We failed to detect NCP in these animals. These data suggest that NCP is not a significant citrulline metabolite in rats.