Citrulline levels following proximal versus distal small bowel resection

Ivan M. Gutierrez, Jeremy G. Fisher, Offir Ben-Ishay, Brian A. Jones, Kuang Horng Kang, Melissa A. Hull, Nick Shillingford, David Zurakowski, Biren P. Modi, Tom Jaksic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose Citrulline, a nonprotein amino acid synthesized by enterocytes, is a biomarker of bowel length and the capacity to wean from parenteral nutrition. However, the potentially variant effect of jejunal versus ileal excision on plasma citrulline concentration [CIT] has not been studied. This investigation compared serial serum [CIT] and mucosal adaptive potential after proximal versus distal small bowel resection. Methods Enterally fed Sprague-Dawley rats underwent sham operation or 50% small bowel resection, either proximal (PR) or distal (DR). [CIT] was measured at operation and weekly for 8 weeks. At necropsy, histologic features reflecting bowel adaptation were evaluated. Results By weeks 6-7, [CIT] in both resection groups significantly decreased from baseline (P < 0.05) and was significantly lower than the concentration in sham animals (P < 0.05). There was no difference in [CIT] between PR and DR at any point. Villus height and crypt density were higher in the PR than in the DR group (P ≤ 0.02). Conclusion [CIT] effectively differentiates animals undergoing major bowel resection from those with preserved intestinal length. The region of intestinal resection was not a determinant of [CIT]. The remaining bowel in the PR group demonstrated greater adaptive potential histologically. [CIT] is a robust biomarker for intestinal length, irrespective of location of small intestine lost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-744
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Biological markers
  • Citrulline
  • Intestinal adaptation
  • Intestinal failure
  • Short bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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