Orally administered L-ornithine elevates brain L-ornithine levels and has an anxiolytic-like effect in mice

Koji Kurata, Mao Nagasawa, Shozo Tomonaga, Mami Aoki, Koji Morishita, D. Michael Denbow, Mitsuhiro Furuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Intracerebroventricular injection of L-ornithine has demonstrated sedative and hypnotic effects in neonatal chicks exposed to acute stressful conditions. However, whether orally administered L-ornithine can reduce acute mental stress remains to be defined. To clarify the nutritional importance of L-ornithine in controlling the stress response, in Experiment 1 we first investigated whether orally administered L-ornithine can be transported into the brain of mice. Mice were orally administered L-ornithine (3 mmol/water 10 ml/kg, per os). L-Ornithine levels were significantly elevated in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus at 30 and 60 minutes post-administration. In Experiment 2, the effect of orally administered L-ornithine (0, 0.1875, 0.75 and 3 mmol/water 10 ml/kg, per os) on anxiety-like behavior in mice exposed to the elevated plus-maze test was examined at 30 minutes post-administration. There was a significant increase in the percentage of time spent and entries in the open arms in the group receiving 0.75 mmol of L-ornithine compared to the control group. Furthermore, locomotion activity in a novel environment was not significantly changed between the control group and 0.75 mmol of L-ornithine group in Experiment 3. Therefore, it appears that orally administrated L-ornithine is bioavailable to the rodent brain and reduces anxiety-like behavior as demonstrated by the elevated plus-maze test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalNutritional Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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