Effects of L-citrulline oral supplementation on polymorphonuclear neutrophils oxidative burst and nitric oxide production after exercise

Free Radic Res. 2009 Sep;43(9):828-35. doi: 10.1080/10715760903071664. Epub 2009 Jul 6.


Seventeen volunteer male professional cyclists were randomly assigned to control or supplemented (6 g L-citrulline-malate) groups and participated in a cycling stage. Blood samples were taken in basal conditions, after the race and 3 h post-race. Citrulline supplementation significantly increased plasma concentration of both arginine and citrulline after the stage only in the supplemented group. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) from controls responded to exercise with a progressive decrease in ROS production. Supplemented PMNs significantly increased ROS production after exercise compared to basal values and diminished to values lower than basal at recovery. PMN nitrite concentration was significantly higher after exercise and recovery only in the supplemented group. Markers of oxidative damage-CK, LDH, malondialdehyde-and DNA damage remained unchanged in both groups. In conclusion, oral L-citrulline administration previous to a cycling stage increases plasma arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Arginine / blood
  • Bicycling*
  • Citrulline / administration & dosage
  • Citrulline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Citrulline / blood
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • DNA Damage
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Malates / administration & dosage*
  • Malates / blood
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Neutrophil Activation / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / blood*
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Respiratory Burst / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Malates
  • Nitrites
  • Citrulline
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Arginine
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Creatine Kinase
  • citrulline malate