BACKGROUND/AIMS: We earlier reported that N-carbamoyl-L-glutamate (CG) plus L-arginine (Arg) protected normal and 70% hepatectomized rats from intoxication by a lethal or sub-lethal dose of ammonium acetate, respectively. In the present study, the protective effect of these compounds on cirrhotic rats was assessed.
METHODS: CG plus Arg were administered prior to the injection of a sub-lethal dose of ammonium acetate into dimethylnitrosamine-induced cirrhotic rats. Control rats were given phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) instead of the mixture. The behavior of the rats was monitored until the time of sacrifice. Blood ammonia level, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and liver carbamoylphosphate synthetase I (CPS I) activity were determined.
RESULTS: Pretreatment of rats with the mixture of CG plus Arg could significantly lower the blood ammonia level (P<0.05), increase the activity of CPS I (P<0.05), improve abnormal behavior associated with ammonia intoxication (P<0.05), and increase BUN (P<0.05), as compared with the PBS-injected control group. There were significantly close correlations between (1) the increase of CPS I activity; (2) the improvement of abnormal behavior; (3) the increase of BUN; and (4) the decrease of the blood ammonia level.
CONCLUSIONS: A mixture of CG plus Arg could protect rats with liver cirrhosis from acute ammonia intoxication.
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